An Open Letter to Richard Littlejohn
[Response to Richard Littlejohn’s Jolly Jihadi Boy’s Outing to Legoland Daily Mail 18/02/14]
Dear Mr Littlejohn,
Peace be upon those who tread the path of guidance.
Thomas Jefferson may have been rather harsh, but was most likely on the money, when he said, “The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers”.
Undoubtedly, February is la morte-saison when it comes to your Daily Mail column. After all why would your readers want to learn about the political crisis in Ukraine, the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Syria or the flimsy economic recovery when they can get such a tolerant and liberal insight into a Muslim community day out to Legoland.
Of course, you are no stranger to controversy and let’s face it popularity comes before principles. Take for instance your previous form in justifying the bombing of offices of the company that administers the London congestion charge. Commenting on the letter bomber, you wrote, “we can all empathise with what drives him over the edge” [Daily Mail, 9 February 2007]. Clearly you are partial to certain types of bombing.
What amazed me is how the article managed to amalgamate female genital mutilation with Legoland Knights’ Kingdom, merge evening prayers with shopping mall bombings and combine virgins in Paradise with bacon sandwiches. I am sorry to say, that the final result, was not the prettiest piece of journalism to emerge from the Daily Mail.
While clearly, by design, the article had racist undertones such as the jokes about ‘kofti kebabs’, the predominant theme that emerged was the danger that the public faces from Muslims who practice their faith. The article sets out to leave the reader in no doubt that observant Muslims are a clear and present danger to Western societies. You may have tried to veil this narrative behind jokes about Lego, grenades and bacon sandwiches, but it is nevertheless wholly apparent.
I thought (albeit briefly) about how to craft an intellectual response to your article but concluded that it is neither possible nor productive. After all, even your readers must see that the article is a rant and does not merit a rigorous intellectual response. I can merely surmise that your article is simply a reflection of the values that you hold dear; lies, half-truths, inaccuracies, prejudice and cultural imperialism.
The hypocrisy of your position is staggering and is worthy of mention:
- You malign the noble Islamic injunction of Jihad, in which wars are not fought for resources, jobs or empire, while you never utter a word against the West’s post-modern crusade against the Islamic people or expose the pernicious nature of Western colonialism. If the motivation for Jihad were for other than truth and justice, Islam would have indeed died an early death. Indeed, it is militant democracies such as the USA and UK whose hands are drenched with the blood of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- You insinuate that young Muslim children who go to Legoland on a day trip will be schooled in violence and aggression. Yet you ignore the societal playground in which violent video games, street gangs and the overall problem of crime is spiralling out of control at all levels, including investment bankers who rig markets (FX and LIBOR) and launder money for criminals and drug gangs (HSBC scandal) with little or no sanction.
- You poke fun at the Islamic rules related to the relationship between the sexes and the position to which Islam elevated men and women, yet you remain silent over the epidemic of domestic violence that blights Western societies, the sexualisation of children and the disease of individualism which has resulted in 5 million Britons saying that TV is their main form of company. The Independent on the 25th May 2012 reported that, “Nearly half of young women in London were sexually harassed in public last year, with many forced to endure unwanted male attention on buses and trains, a new study shows”. Yet you poke fun at Muslim gatherings where men and women dress modestly and treat each other respectfully.
Let it be known that Muslims in the West:
- Are willing and open to debate and discuss all of the claims you make and all of what you accuse Islam and the Muslims of.
- Will not fall for the trap that seeks to divide Muslims into ‘moderates’ and ‘extremists’ and to conflate the widespread Muslim aspiration for Shariah and Khilafah with terrorism and militancy.
- Are not interested in trading insults, half-truths and lies but will not remain silent in the face of such tactics.
We invite people of all faiths to participate in a robust intellectual debate, away from the pages of the Daily Mail and the tabloids, in an atmosphere of candour and geniality.
Finally, it is reasonable to suggest that if the Daily Mail has chosen to sell the newspaper by aiming for the lowest common denominator, it ought to abandon its tone of moral superiority.
“Say: ‘O mankind! Now truth has come to you from your Lord. So whosoever receives guidance, he does so for the good of his own self; and whosoever goes astray, he does so to his own loss; and I am not (set) over you as a Wakeel (disposer of affairs to oblige you for guidance)’”[The Quran, Chapter 10, Verse 108]
Hizb ut-Tahrir UK Executive Committee