Church urged to ban BNP supporters from communion

Supporters of the racist philosophies of the British National party should be banned from taking communion because their beliefs conflict with key tenets of the Christian faith, the head of Britain’s race watchdog said yesterday.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, used a speech to church leaders to criticise their silence over the BNP’s depiction of itself as a Christian-based party. Mr Phillips told the Temple Address, a high-profile interdenominational gathering, that the BNP’s policies against people of other races and other religions using the cloak of Christianity demanded a robust response from established churches.

Referring to BNP leader Nick Griffin’s acquittal last week on charges of inciting racial hatred, Mr Phillips said the church should have framed its own response. “If ever there was a moment for hellfire and damnation, this is it. At the very least, every pulpit this Sunday should have been ringing with denunciation, ministers and priests crying ‘Not in our name’ … the far right should not be able to claim Christ to their cause. But they will do if we let them.”

He added: “I feel rage that my church might expect me to be in communion with such as Nick Griffin. This is where Christ puts us to the test. In the end it is Christians who decide who shares their fellowship, and who is excluded.”

Mr Phillips said church leaders faced a choice. “Will the churches support any priest or minister who says I will not administer the sacrament to someone who blatantly rejects Christ’s teachings? Are we ready to use weapons of faith to turn these people into pariahs and outsiders?”

Guardian, 16 November 2006

Anti-Muslim cartoon posted across Yale campus

An unknown party posted what many called an anti-Muslim cartoon across Yale’s campus Wednesday morning, the third recent instance of anonymous postering on campus.

The cartoons on the posters – which were taken down mid-morning by members of the Muslim Students Association – depicted the prophet Muhammad with a sword in one hand and a decapitated head in the other, underneath a speech bubble which included the phrase: “Don’t mess with Ahmadinejad’s nukes.”

Yale Daily News, 26 November 2006

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Charles Clarke joins Muslim veil row

Jack Straw 3Commons leader Jack Straw has been the subject of a hard-hitting attack by former home secretary Charles Clarke for starting the national debate on the wearing of the full veil by Muslim women.

Mr Clarke accused his ex-cabinet colleague last night of “grandstanding” and of launching a discussion that had had an almost completely negative effect.

Speaking at the Royal Commonwealth Society in London, the Norwich MP pointedly complained that what he dubbed the “Great British Veil Controversy” had been “started by Jack Straw in his local Blackburn paper”.

It “has been almost entirely negative in its impact and has done nothing to promote tolerance and understanding in our society”, he continued. “Building respect in our society means more common sense and less grandstanding from everyone.”

Norwich Evening News, 16 November 2006

‘Disgust at Muslim poppy’

“BNP National Enquires Officer and Worcestershire Organiser, Martin Roberts has assisted the Royal British Legion for the last three years in helping with their annual poppy appeal. This year he was absolutely horrified to find alongside the traditional remembrance crosses, a Muslim crescent – apparently because ‘demand’ warranted it. In all the years helping, Martin has never knowingly sold a poppy to a Muslim person, so was disgusted at this item and removed it from the box of poppies.”

BNP regional report, 16 November 2006

Debating the veil in the Morning Star

Over at the Shiraz Socialist blog Jim Denham of the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, a pseudo-left sect whose Islamophobia is usually matched only by its Stalinophobia, applauds a letter in yesterday’s Morning Star from one Betty Tebbs on the issue of the veil.

Denham hasn’t actually read the letter Tebbs is replying to, but this staunch defender of Enlightenment values finds that unnecessary. Tebbs is, after all, a white former trade union activist, so according to Denham she’s entitled to adopt an attitude of cultural arrogance towards a minority ethno-religious community. As far as the original letter is concerned, Denham observes: “I think we can all guess roughly what it said (and that it came from patronising, middle-class scum)”.

For the benefit of readers who might actually like to examine the evidence before they reach a political conclusion, we reproduce the exchange from the Morning Star letters column.

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BBC gives free publicity to Nazi

Nick_GriffinNot content with launching a witch-hunt against Hizb ut-Tahrir on Newsnight, the BBC has further disgraced itself by giving BNP leader Nick Griffin a platform on this week’s Moral Maze on Radio 4 (listen here). The subject was “race, religion and free speech” and Griffin was allowed full rein to spill out his anti-Muslim bigotry.

Needless to say, the fascists are celebrating – “what a show it was”. They add: “What makes interesting listening is the evidence of other guests from disparate sources who largely agreed that ‘hate speech’ laws are unnecessary and that existing legislation prohibiting incitement to violence and murder should be used.”

BNP news article, 16 November 2006

The BNP must have been particularly pleased by the contribution of panelist Claire Fox, who called for the abolition of the law against incitement to racial hatred and went on to denounce the government for “using the BNP as a pretext for another political clamp-down on free speech – that’s more worrying than anything Nick Griffin could throw at us”.

Mind you, there is a moment of light relief when Griffin, in all seriousness, informs his audience that racism is a term “invented by Leon Trotsky”!

Deal with the causes that jeopardise our security, says Michael Meacher

“Of course the government must give absolute priority to protecting the security of the nations against terrorist or any other threats. But endlessly ratcheting up the controls over every aspect of our national life, in the process undermining the very civil liberties and freedoms that the whole policy is supposed to be protecting, will never deliver real security unless we address the underlying motives. If we are tough on security, equally we need to be tough on the causes that generate our insecurity. And there is no doubt that the rage that drives terrorist activity is prompted by the horrendous daily carnage in Iraq, the refusal to condemn the indiscriminate bombing of Lebanon and the widespread perception among Muslims of a grossly imbalanced policy favouring Israel to the neglect of the Palestinians. Dealing with these causes that jeopardise our security will be difficult, but there is no other way.”

Michael Meacher at the Guardian‘s Comment is Free, 16 November 2006

‘The man leading the Christian fightback’ – fascists applaud Sentamu

How ironic that the man who is coming to the rescue of the Anglican community should be a recent immigrant from Africa. In contrast to his domestic but effete and supine colleagues in the Anglican hierarchy the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, appears to have the backbone to robustly defend the Church and has today accused the BBC of bias against Christianity and says the broadcaster fears a terrorist backlash if it is critical of Islam. He may not think much of the BNP but we back his robust manner of championing traditional Christian values.”

BNP news article, 14 November 2006

Vatican enters Muslim veil debate

A senior Vatican cardinal has expressed concern over the use of some Muslim veils by Islamic immigrants in Europe. This is the first time that the Vatican has joined in the Europe-wide debate on how women who insist on wearing the veil affect the integration of Muslims.

Cardinal Renato Martino said immigrants must respect the traditions, culture and religion of the nations they go to. They ought to abide by local laws banning the wearing of certain types of Muslim veils, he added. “It seems elementary to me and it is quite right that the authorities demand it,” said Cardinal Martino, who heads the Vatican department dealing with migration issues.

BBC News, 14 November 2006

Rage as Nick Griffin walks free

Fascist scum (3)Anti-fascist campaigners reacted with outrage on Friday of last week as Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party (BNP), and his sidekick Mark Collett were cleared of charges of incitement to racial hatred.

Griffin and Collett had been prosecuted over speeches at a BNP meeting in Keighley, West Yorkshire, that was secretly filmed by the BBC.

Griffin claimed that gangs of Asian men were drugging and raping white girls as part of an Islamic plot to take over Britain. He spoke of “Muslim thugs and perverts”, “young paki street thugs” and Britain being “mongrelised out of existence”. Collett made similar allegations about “gangs of Asian males”.

In court Griffin argued that his comments were intended as criticism of Islam, rather than being directed at Asians in general. “This isn’t a racial thing. It’s not an Asian thing. It’s a cultural and religious thing,” he said.

His defence team argued that Griffin’s views on Islam, expressed in 2004, had since become more acceptable. They cited recent comments by Jack Straw and other senior politicians to argue that such views were now legitimate public debate. These kind of arguments regularly appear in both the right wing press and its “liberal” counterpart. They have directly fuelled the atmosphere of anti-Muslim racism around this case.

Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham, east London, was quite right to say that the government’s “tough” stance on race and Muslims had played into the hands of the BNP. He said, “We have to be honest in saying that the debate over the veil, talking tough on immigration and race or the language used in the ‘war on terror’ does not reassure people but actually makes the situation worse.”

Weyman Bennett, joint national secretary of Unite Against Fascism, said it was “tragic that a fascist organisation can hide behind free speech”. But the verdict highlighted the need to build a united grassroots movement against the BNP that could challenge the fascists politically, he added. “We need to be campaigning against the fascists in our workplaces and communities. The vast majority of people are opposed to the BNP – and we need to mobilise that force against them.”

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