Observer stitches up MPACUK

“One of Britain’s most prominent speakers on Muslim issues is today exposed as a supporter of David Irving, the controversial historian who for years denied the Holocaust took place. Asghar Bukhari, a founder member of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC), which describes itself as Britain’s largest Muslim civil rights group, sent money to Irving and urged Islamic websites to ask visitors to make donations to his fighting fund.”

Jamie Doward in the Observer, 19 November 2006

Except that, if you read the article, you find that all this took place back in 2000. Bukhari says that at that time he didn’t realise who Irving was and now describes his actions as “gravely mistaken”. So, in other words, he clearly isn’t “a supporter of David Irving”.

Read MPACUK’s response to the Observer here.

Postscript:  Oliver Kamm has joined Harry’s Place in trying to make political capital out of the Observer piece. In Kamm’s case, he quotes the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Anti-Semitism and its ridiculous Searchlight-inspired claim – which the Observer “exposé” seeks to reinforce – that “Islamist  extremists” (i.e. MPACUK) are in an alliance with the far right in inciting hatred against the Jewish community.

In fact, as one commentator has pointed out, the leadership of the main far-right organisation in the UK, the BNP, has officially renounced anti-semitism (even if the rank and file are still not entirely on-message) in favour of inciting hatred against Muslims.

In that connection, a letter from the fascists that appears in the current issue of the Jewish Chronicle is worth quoting. Responding to an article by Melanie Phillips, Alan Goodacre of the BNP writes:

“I realise the party’s unfortunate past gives understandable grounds for scepticism about its reformed position on the Jews, but I would respectfully make the following points. Quoting the discredited and expelled John Tyndall to prove what the party believes today is like quoting Michael Foot to prove what Tony Blair really thinks…. Our party no longer denies the Holocaust, an obvious historical fact.”

Addressing the Jewish community, Goodacre concludes: “We hope that our future behaviour may in time bring you to understand that our repudiation of antisemitism is genuine. We are the only party in Britain that is truly serious about fighting the Islamofascist threat.”

Of course, it is nonsense to suggest that the BNP’s formal renunciation of anti-semitism is anything more that an opportunist political manoeuvre. As recently as 1998, current BNP führer Nick Griffin was convicted of inciting racial hatred for an article in a BNP publication in which he dismissed the Holocaust as the “Holohoax”. Nobody seriously believes that Griffin has abandoned his ingrained anti-Jewish bigotry over the subsequent eight years.

He has simply decided that there is no political mileage in public displays of anti-semitism, preferring to concentrate instead on riding the wave of Islamophobic hysteria whipped up by the mainstream media. And, as Goodacre’s letter to the JC indicates, the BNP is now moving towards the policy adopted by the far-right Vlaams Belang party in Belgium, of appealing for support among a minority of right-wing anti-Muslim racists within the Jewish community.