Nick Griffin on Question Time: A Statement by HTB
The invitation of BNP leader Nick Griffin to BBC Question Time has provoked much debate about the limits of ‘free speech’ and outrage in some quarters. In light of this, we would make the following points:
1. Most Muslims know of Griffin’s anti-Islamic views. Griffin is a fringe politician who carries little weight or support. Yet it is senior politicians from all parties who are primarily responsible for creating an atmosphere where it is acceptable to attack Islam and Islamic values and who have created the environment of anti-Muslim hatred which allow people like Griffin to spout their hatred so openly. Their war propaganda, oppressive anti-terror laws and cheap populism over the past 8 years has made the British population more distrustful of Muslims than any other Western nation.
Jack Straw MP, who is set to appear on the panel, fuelled anti-Muslim feelings much more than Griffin with his attack on women who wear niqab (face veil). Yet, he may later use this Question Time appearance to court Muslim votes.
The colleagues of Baroness Warsi in the Conservative Party, another guest on the program, have similarly fuelled hatred of Islam. With mainstream politicians like Jack Straw, Tony Blair, David Cameron, Michael Gove, Phil Woolas and Jim Fitzpatrick, one can see that it is not only the BNP who fuel hatred of Islam.
2. The invitation extended to Griffin by the BBC and the decision of leading politicians to sit with him illustrates their hypocrisy. It also shows their expediency over the so-called principle of ‘free expression’.
Either Griffin’s views are racist, beyond the pale and should not be condoned (even if he is a member of the European Parliament) or his views should be entertained, as should those of others whose views are disliked. However, we see that politicians who refuse to debate with non-racist, non-violent Islamic organisations like Hizb ut-Tahrir, and call for their banning (Ms Warsi’s and Mr Straw) will happily sit with Griffin – who leads an openly racist party and whose view on Adolf Hitler is that he went ‘a bit too far’!
It is such rank hypocrisy and political expediency that makes many Muslims appreciate not only how prejudiced the political establishment is against Islam, but also fails to convince Muslims to embrace their ideal of ‘free expression’.
3. The increased media profile given to the anti-Muslim far right – whether Griffin’s BNP or the English Defence League (EDL) – gives a platform to the lies that seek to portray Islam as a violent, intolerant and backward religion with very little challenge to their lies and false premises.
In so doing, it intensifies the atmosphere which bullies Muslims into apologising for their Islamic values, and demands they embrace western liberal values instead. In such a climate, Muslims need to be aware and vigilant to this agenda and the traps prepared for them.
It is our view that the aim is to engineer a vocal and provocative right-wing extreme and simultaneously engineer a ‘Muslim extreme’ – as seen in the recent EDL saga – that will be used by mainstream politicians to demonise Islam and so encourage a reformist trend in Islam so Muslims more easily accept the colonial British foreign policy.
Hence, any Muslim who become apologetic about the Islamic Shariah, or other Islamic beliefs and rulings, or who start to change aspects of the deen of Islam to fit with liberal norms, or played into this trap to label each other as “moderates” and “extremists”, will have succumbed to the agenda of those who hate Islam.
And it would also play into the agenda of those who hate Islam and seek to undermine it if any Muslim were to undertake rash, immature actions which recklessly add to the impression created by the lies that seek to portray Islam as a violent, intolerant and backward religion, and so create more pressure on Muslims to be apologetic for Islam and to embrace liberal values. Such actions, would be foolhardy and are only too welcome by all the Islamophobes in the western political establishment.
In this hostile and volatile atmosphere, we believe Muslims must remain steadfast, not falling into this divisive trap, not compromising their deen, and not reacting in a foolhardy manner. We call upon Muslims to work with us for the re-establishment of Islam in the Muslim world, where the people long for it; and to work to secure our values in our own communities while we live in the West. We should feel privileged that our only ‘izzah comes from following the deen of Allah. We should feel confident that Islamic values are the best values, especially when we see the tragic lives of those afflicted by a capitalist secular way of life. We should engage with people around us to explain Islam, rebut the myths and ignorant stereotypes – and not reinforce them. We should not remain silent, hide away, or compromise our belief in Islam in order to pander to the political classes, but show people by word and deed the sublime nature of Islam, and argue and debate in the ways that are best.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain
22 October 2009
3 Dhul Qa’dah 1430