February 17, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

Or: The man who has blood on his hands, sort of...

Last week, the Al Guardian (no link) published this vile and smug little bit by the unspeakable "Lord Ahmed". Yes, that does sound like the member of a Sixties' Beat Group, but he is just a member in the House of Lords:
When I found out that Geert Wilders was planning to come to Britain and that Baroness Cox and Lord Pearson wanted to show his film, I wrote to the Home Office, the leader of the House of Lords and Black Rod to say that his presence would lead to the incitement of religious and racial hatred, which constitutes a public order offence.

I pointed out that Wilders is already facing a serious charge in his home country for inciting racial hatred. Furthermore, Cox and Pearson could hardly use an argument for free speech to justify giving him this platform because Wilders himself is calling for the banning of the Qur'an.

Wilders' film, Fitna, takes a lot of Qur'anic verses out of context and relates them to some terrible terrorist events, connecting them as though such acts are a religious teaching. I thought this would lead to extremist groups from both sides – far-right organisations like the BNP and extremist Muslims – rallying behind him.

As a result of my letters, the home secretary wrote to Wilders to say his presence would "threaten community harmony and therefore public security in the UK", and that therefore he was banned from entering the UK under EU laws enabling member states to exclude someone whose presence would be a threat to national security, public order or the safety of its citizens. I agree with her assessment. In the past, we have refused entry to people like Yusuf al-Qaradawi and others because of the language they have used, which could incite hatred and violence.

In an article in the Spectator, Melanie Phillips falsely claims that I had threatened to mobilise 10,000 Muslims to demonstrate against Wilders. As a result, I have had hundreds of abusive emails, phone calls and threats from around the world to my office, my staff and myself.

The Quilliam Foundation says it disagrees with the ban, but it doesn't represent the masses and it doesn't have the support of the majority of the Muslim community. I represent views that I believe are in the best interests of our country.

In 1958, the predominantly hereditary nature of the House of Lords had been changed by the Life Peerages Act, which allowed for the creation of life baronies. The number of Life Peers then gradually increased, though not at a constant rate.

The Labour Party had for most of the Twentieth Century a commitment, based on the party's historic opposition to class privilege, to abolish the House of Lords, or at least expel the hereditary element. In 1968, the Labour Government of Harold Wilson attempted a reform of The House by introducing a system under which hereditary peers would be allowed to remain in the House and take part in debate, but would be unable to vote. This plan, however, was defeated in the House of Commons by a coalition of traditionalist Conservatives, such as Enoch Powell, and Labour members who continued to advocate the outright abolition of the Upper House.

In the end, the Labour Party included in its 1997 General Election Manifesto a commitment to remove the hereditary peerage from the House of Lords. Their election victory in 1997 under Tony Blair thus heralded the demise of the traditional institution. The Labour Government introduced legislation to expel all hereditary peers from the Upper House as a first step in Lords reform, but as part of a compromise agreed to permit 92 hereditary peers to remain until the reforms were complete. Thus all but 92 hereditary peers were expelled under the House of Lords Act 1999, making the House of Lords predominantly an appointed house.

Nazir Ahmed, born 1958 in Pakistan, attended Spurley Hey Comprehensive school, then Thomas Rotherham Sixth Form College. He studied Public Administration at Sheffield Hallam University and joined the Labour Party when he was 18 years old.

While he worked as a grocer, he began his political career as a local councillor, with most of his activity centred around the North of England. He recognized the significance of grass roots politics and founded the British Muslim Councillors' Forum in 1992. Ahmed was also made a Justice of the Peace in the same year and chaired the South Yorkshire Labour Party for some years.

In 1998 Ahmed was appointed to the House of Lords, becoming the first Muslim life peer as Baron Ahmed, of Rotherham in the County of South Yorkshire.

Quite the immigrant success story, eh?

Yes and no. To add a little bit flesh to the bones, here is an alternative CV: Born in Mirpur, Pakistan, in 1958, little Nazir Ahmed emigrated to Britain with his parents, where he took advantage of the free education provided by the British taxpayer and attended university while working for the Labour Party. In 1992, he founded the Muslim Councillors Forum, and was active in local politics in the North of England where he championed countless Muslim causes. 1998 he was appointed to the House of Lords, swearing his oath of allegiance on the Koran, as one does in a vibrant, multicultural and tolerant country like Britain. As a Muslim peer, much of his activities relate to the Muslim community, both at home and internationally because Britains primary concern is to form the best of relations with Muslims worldwide. As well as being an active figure in the Indian Subcontinent, he has worked on the plight of Muslims terrorist scum around the world, from the collapse of former Yugoslavia, to the Chechens and Palestinians. He has been on many delegations to the Arab world, the US, Eastern Europe, Africa, the former states of the USSR and the Far East, meeting with heads of state to discuss their respective problems and how he may be able to assist them. He was, too, the first Member of the Upper House to lead delegations on behalf of the British government (yes!) to Saudi Arabia for the Haj, to keep his priorities in balance.

On 23 February 2005, Lord Ahmed hosted a book launch in the (yes!) House of Lords for author Israel Shamir. On the 22 March, Stephen Pollard wrote in The Times that Shamir "is, in fact, a Swedish-domiciled anti-Semite also known as Jöran Jermas" known for statements like "Jews control ... a big share of mass media" (including the BNP) and also suggested that the large Muslim population in Britain was important to turn the tide of 'Judaic Values' in Britain. Lord Ahmed, when challenged, refused to comment on Shamir's remarks.

On 25 July 2005, Lord Ahmed, in an interview on National Public Radio, said that the London suicide bombers of 7/7 had an "identity crisis" and, that "unfortunately, our imams and mosques have not been able to communicate the true message of Islam in the language that these young people can understand."

Picture: Getty Images
Traces of the "identity crisis" of young Muslims in London 2005.

On 19 June 2007 Lord Ahmed criticised the honouring of Salman Rushdie with a knighthood because of what he saw as Rushdie's offensiveness to Islam. He reportedly said, "It's hypocrisy by Tony Blair who two weeks ago was talking about building bridges to mainstream Muslims, and then he's honouring a man who has insulted the British public and been divisive in community relations." And: "This man not only provoked violence around the world because of his writings, but there were many people who were killed around the world. Forgiving and forgetting is one thing, but honouring the man who has blood on his hands, sort of, because of what he did, I think is going a bit too far." Sort of.

In an interview with Press TV (self-reference: "Press TV takes revolutionary steps as the first Iranian international news network, broadcasting in English on a round-the-clock basis"), performed by one Fareena Alam on February 3, Lord Ahmed informed us:
Press TV: Lord Nazir Ahmed, you raised question in Parliament about the legal implications of British Jews serving in the IDF. What was the response?

Lord Ahmed: I asked Her Majesty's government if they were aware of British citizens who may have been involved with the war crimes committed by the Israeli Defense Force and Israeli Defense Reserves. Her Majesty's government did not have any figures because dual nationals do not have to inform the government. However, there are reports in the Daily Mirror and The Sun with the names of British citizens who have been fighting in Gaza.

The point I was making is that war crimes have been committed, white phosphorous has been used and if there are people who have broken the 4th Geneva Convention, then whoever they are, when they return to this country, they should be arrested and charged - unlike the Major General who escaped in 2005.

Press TV: Are you certain these are up to date reports about British citizens serving in Israel?

Lord Ahmed: These are very new reports, dated January 2009, of British citizens who have gone out to fight against the Palestinian people as part of the IDF. Their names and ages are mentioned in these reports.
We know that there are student unions that have been actively recruiting young people in Britain to join the Israeli Defense Force and we also know that there are young Jewish students who go and serve on the kibbutz and also in schools, who are also then doing national service in Israel.

How many of those have been involved in war crimes? How many of those have broken the Geneva Convention? When they come back to this country, we want our government to take some legal action against them.

Press TV: Will our government take such action?

Lord Ahmed: Yes - if there is evidence and if the United Nations is strong enough. At the moment they have not even decided how they are going to conduct this independent investigation into the use of white phosphorous and other weapons prohibited by the United Nations.

There is very clear evidence that the 4th Geneva Convention has been breached - we know there was collective punishment, excessive and disproportionate use of force against civilians and deliberate attacks on schools, hospitals and ambulances. There have even been attacks on UNRWA personnel and warehouses.

If the United Nations makes a statement or if someone goes to the courts and gets an order against these people then I am sure the government has to take some legal action.

Press TV: Were you surprised by the response from the government?

Lord Ahmed: I am not surprised at all. Lord Malloch-Brown did actually say that if there is any evidence of the 4th Geneva Convention being breached, and it doesn't matter whether they are British citizens or whether they are other nationalities, these people will be arrested and they will be tried in this country.

Press TV: How do you think the British Jewish community will react to such a move?

Lord Ahmed: Well the reaction was very obvious. One of their lordships got up and started to praise the British citizens who were fighting in Gaza. He said: shouldn't we be proud of the fact they are fighting against terrorists who are hell bent on trying to destroy Israel.

But they are not fighting against a terrorist organization as such. The IDF and those who serve in it have been involved in the massacre of civilians, including hundreds of Palestinian children and attacks on the United Nations and even the American school. There is just no excuse for anyone to get away from these war crimes this time.

Press TV: Is this situation comparable to British Muslims allegedly going to fight in foreign conflicts?

Lord Ahmed: There have been many government statements with regards to British Muslims going abroad to foreign madrasahs and then seeking training. There was a huge outcry across the board - from government officials, politicians and civil society.

Of course, we do not support anyone who has been involved with terrorism or killing of innocent civilians anywhere, or those who fight British troops abroad.

However, to me there is no difference whether the young person is from a Jewish background or Muslim background. The only difference is that one has a uniform and the other does not. Both kill innocent civilians. Both need to be brought justice.

This is why Baroness Tongue asked the question about the number of British youth who go to religious Jewish schools and also the kibbutz. In this case, it is a double standard to allow young British citizens of whatever religion, who go to religious schools and then get involved in armed conflicts and join a terrorist state.

The very fact that in both cases, they kill innocent civilians, including children warrants a fresh look at this issue, as was recommended by Lord Wallace of Saltaire.

Press TV: Are you expecting any progress now that you have raised the issue?

Lord Ahmed: My intention was to bring this matter to the attention of parliament. The second was to discuss this openly in the media. It has always been a taboo to ask any questions about Jewish youth who go to Israel for training and service in the IDF.

We have received a government statement. Now, it is for the legal experts to take it up in the courts and to make sure the government takes legal action against people who may have been in breach of international law.

As a general point, I was surprised by how the entire British society was moved by this crisis. In almost every town and city, people went out to demonstrate against the bombing and killing of innocent civilians. They put pressure on the government and at least the government has done a few things such as taking the resolution to the UN.

But more importantly, I have definitely seen the mood amongst British politicians change to become more openly critical of the Israeli government. Unfortunately, that is not the same in Europe.

We went to see the President of the European Parliament and met with a number of Members of the European Parliament who feel that Germany, Austria and France and other parts of Europe still have guilt in relation to the Holocaust. That is why Israel can get away with anything it wants.

We know that very fine members of parliament like Gerald Kaufman MP, who is himself Jewish, very openly said that just because these people were victims of the Holocaust does not mean they should perpetrate another holocaust on the Palestinian people.

We need to speak out and support Jews, like Gerald Kaufman and Jews for Justice for Palestine, who have been supporting the Palestinians.
And nobody laughed.

So poor Lord Ahmed and those whose welfare he has, as a member of parliament, in mind are victims of Geert Wilders, Salman Rushdie, and, of course, The Jews, who are all so offensive that those many peaceful, tolerant Muslims must be protected from their inflammatory words and actions, or they might do something ... inflammatory.

I have hardly ever seen a more shameless reversal of the perpetrator : victim reality -- or taqqiya.

As for the Brits, I can only hope that they are happy with what they jettisoned the Upper Classes for. Egalitarianism has taken them a long way already, and no doubt the women of the new elites will not hurt the sensibilities of the masses anymore with offensive duds like cashmere sweaters, Alice bands, pearls, Barbours or green gumboots.

The new elites in full fly: Lord Ahmed showing his loyalty to Queen and Fatherland.

Information on the House of Lords and Lord Ahmed mainly from Wikipedia where the verifications can be found.