Who was behind the campaign against Islamia Village?

Islamic Far Right In Britain

When the Islamic Far-Right in Britain blog launched its campaign to get last weekend’s Islamia Village event at Thorpe Underwood Estate cancelled, it wasn’t in fact the blog’s main author, Andy Hughes, who approached the estate’s Trustees on its behalf.

Perhaps it was felt that Hughes still has a bit too much of the EDL thug about him to make a convincing advocate. Anyway, the person who acted as the IFRB representative in discussions with the estate management was an individual named “Damian”. Presumably this was because he had the advantage of middle class respectability as well as being rather more articulate than Hughes (and even, it would appear, a bit of an intellectual on the side).

This tactic seems to have worked well, as Damian certainly made a favourable impression on the Trustees, a spokesperson for whom posted a comment at Harry’s Place that included the following tribute: “Damian did an excellent job giving us accurate, substantiated information. I replied quickly to him, he responded likewise. We maintained a civil working dialogue throughout. He is to be commended.”

Of course, we don’t know the precise details of the exchange between the IFRB and the Trustees, but I think it would be fair to assume that Damian presented himself as a concerned citizen whose target was “Islamic extremism” rather than the entire Islamic faith.

However, in the course of the discussion of the Islamia Village cancellation at Harry’s Place, Damian has helpfully revealed his real agenda. It turns out that he’s one of those militant atheists who is fiercely hostile towards religion in general and, as is usually the way with such people, towards Islam in particular.

Damian writes: “Contra the Islamists, Islam is not ‘the solution’ to the woes of the Arab or wider ‘Islamic world’. Rather, it is among the principal reasons – and in many cases, I am convinced, the principle reason – for its social, cultural, scientific and economic backwardness.”

So why should hundreds of millions of people worldwide embrace a faith that has such negative consequences? Damian has a ready explanation: “they have been indoctrinated and intimidated since childhood to believe that if they ever question Islam they will be banished from their family and community, or perhaps even killed, and then roasted in hell for eternity.”

Taking issue with another HP commenter who supported “the right of any religion to hold its beliefs as long as it is a private matter”, Damian argues: “I do not oppose Islam and Islamism principally because I wish they’d ‘keep it to themselves’, behind closed doors and out of my sight. Rather, the first and principal victims of Islam are those millions of children around the world raised to be … unthinking and unquestioning ‘Islamobots’, and this is the principal reason that I oppose it so strongly.”

So much for the idea that in intervening over the Islamia Village event Damian was merely interested in combating the “Islamic far-right”. For Damian the enemy is clearly Islam as a whole, together with all its benighted adherents.

In other words, the campaign against Islamia Village was headed by a former English Defence League activist who denounces “Muzzies and Yids” and a virulent Islamophobe who regards Muslims as “Islamobots” who only follow their faith because they’ve been threatened and brainwashed.

If the Thorpe Underwood Estate management had known what Damian and his friend Andy Hughes really stand for, I suspect it would have given their complaints about Islamia Village a rather less sympathetic hearing.