Ex-Red Ken has done it again. He has reiterated his defence of fundamentalist religious leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, whom he invited to speak in London last year, despite al-Qaradawi’s latest outburst, contending that the Indian Ocean tsunami was God’s punishment for “acts of abomination” committed by the victims.
Livingstone claims that allegations that al-Qaradawi is in favour of suicide bombing, wife beating and the murder of gay men are “almost entirely inaccurate” despite the fact that they have been proven by documentary evidence still available in websites and publications with which al-Qaradawi is involved (see “WOTW” passim).
In a recent broadcast on Qatar TV, al-Qaradawi said, “People must ask themselves why this earthquake occurred in this area and not in others.
“Whoever examines these areas discovers that they are tourism areas… where the forbidden acts are widespread, as well as alcohol consumption, drug use and acts of abomination…
They even traffic in children. Don’t they deserve punishment from God?”
The Muslim Association of Britain has also tried to defend al-Qaradawi, saying that he has called for aid for the victims of the tsunami (for people who “deserve punishment from God”?!) and, bizarrely, that the campaign against his views is orchestrated by Mossad.
Most offensively, they claim that all religions share al-Qaradawi’s view that, essentially, anyone who suffers from a natural disaster deserves it.
It is true that there have been utterances from extreme right-wing Christian and Jewish figures, the equivalents in those faiths of al-Qaradawi in Islam. However, the vast majority of people of Muslim, Christian, Jewish or any background find those views repulsive.
This, of course, is a fact lost on our Ken: he describes al-Qaradawi forthrightly as “authoritative”, as if Ken were somehow qualified to comment on Islamic theology or, more importantly, on who represents people from a Muslim background!
While we’re on the subject of religion, here’s another interesting little snippet.
Various religious groups are using aid to Aceh as a cover for trying to convert the most vulnerable people. Most Acehnese people are relatively secular Muslims, but extremist groups are trying to capitalise on the disaster, handing out Korans and even veils alongside aid. The UN has even given aid to Lashkar Mujahideen, a group associated with the murder of “apostates”, to distribute. Meanwhile American evangelists are also on the case: “These people need food but they also need Jesus” one said. American fundamentalists are reported to have been rounding up orphans to be sent to a religious Christian children’s home until the Indonesian government put a stop to it.
NEW LABOUR, OLD TORY
The defection of a second Oxfordshire Tory MP, Robert Jackson, to New Labour illuminates yet again the nature of the Blairite beast. As one prominent local Labour activist commented, “Welcome comrade. What took you so long?…[you] supported Margaret Thatcher’s attacks on the miners, her cuts in public services and the imposition of the poll tax…the years of Tory corruption and economic disaster.”
Quite, and the fact that such a man, on the brink of a prosperous retirement, now feels comfortable in New Labour brings to mind left Labour MP Tony Banks’ assessment that “even a right-wing moron in a hurry would be unembarrassed to vote for us”. Coincidentally,
Tony is also retiring from Parliament at the forthcoming General Election. He is set to be replaced from an all-women shortlist, but given what happened with Shaun Woodward last time, it is not too late for the Blair clique to show once more its contempt for democracy, and parachute in Robert Jackson…watch this space.
While we’re on the subject of the Blair cult, your ever-alert reporter notices the name of Andrew Lloyd Webber on the list of Tony Blair’s dinner guests revealed this month under the Freedom of Information Act. Wasn’t he the guy who said in 1997 he would leave the country if Labour won the election? Some enlightened people voted Labour on the strength of that assurance. There ought to be a campaign for that particular election promise to be fulfilled!
THE HAVES AND THE HAVE-NOTS
Finally, a tale of two kinds of immigration, from King’s Lynn Crown Court.
Viktor Solomka, from Ukraine, had no problems setting up in Britain. He was rich, you see, and he proceeded to “earn” nearly two million pounds a year from the labour of hundreds of poor immigrants whom he smuggled into the country to work in sweatshops. They had to live up to 11 to each tiny, decrepit house while they were working here. Migrant workers, often “illegal”, are the most exploited people in this country.
This month one of them, a 23-year-old compatriot of the capitalist Solomka, who had been sleeping rough in Coleraine, County Derry, had to have both legs amputated after suffering from frostbite. She had to sleep outdoors because she had lost her sweatshop job.
TRAGEDY AND STATISTICS
From Private Eye (7-20 Jan):
1 hr 45 mins, time it took Tony Blair to comment publicly on death of John Peel.
2 hrs, time it took Tony Blair to comment publicly on death of Jill Dando.
3 hrs 20 mins, time it took Tony Blair to comment publicly on death of Princess Diana.
7 hrs, time it took Tony Blair to comment publicly on death of Frank Sinatra.
12 hrs, time it took Tony Blair to comment publicly on death of George Harrison.
4 days, time it took Tony Blair to comment publicly on deaths of tens of thousands of tsunami victims.”