Saturday, December 04, 2010

ENGAGE – the deluded, disingenuous and paranoid Muslim group advising Parliament on 'Islamophobia'

This is a guest post by LibertyPhile:

ENGAGE, a Muslim group that says it is dedicated to promoting the involvement of British Muslims in politics and the media, has been appointed as the secretariat of the recently formed All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia.

The chance of them bringing objectivity to this important task is zero and it undermines any hope of the APPG producing a useful result.

For a good account of the issues see the article by Paul Goodman at ConservativeHome.

Why do I say this about ENGAGE? Well, I am a regular reader of their website and from time-to-time add my thoughts to the comments section. Despite what they say about their objectives, the site seems dedicated to slagging off the British Media (and promoting certain political views).

I give below small sample of some of the items I have read so far this year to illustrate the qualities of this organisation.

Checking the facts

On the 2 August ENGAGE ran a post with the headline “New poll reveals 3/4 of UK population believe Islam is negative for Britain”.

Only it wasn’t true. The survey in question carried out by the Islamic Education and Research Agency (IERA), another Islamic propaganda group, found, when you actually look at the tables in their report, that it was 14 percent and 22 percent respectively who think Islam and Muslims have had a quite negative or very negative impact on British society.

25 percent think it has been quite positive or very positive. And the largest single group, 39 percent, were neutral.

So ENGAGE either are very bad at arithmetic or don’t bother to check their facts. But I suppose it’s one way of getting an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia going.

Never mind the facts

Then on the 15 July we had “Another day, another Muslim-bashing story in the tabloids”.

The story starts “A shopping centre in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, has installed new 'squat' toilets for customers after bosses reportedly went on a cultural diversity training course.”

“Reportedly”. Well, they did. According to the Manchester Evening News, “Community activist Ghulam Rasul Shahzad said managers decided to offer the toilets after attending one of his training courses. [He took them] on a tour of the town’s central mosque, including a look at its toilets.”

The Daily Express ran the headline “Shopping centre plans squat loos designed for Muslims”. Which of course was accurate.

But ENGAGE goes into Dave Spart mode: “What is essentially a local issue, involving merely two toilets, has been used by the national media to once again incite anti-Muslim prejudice and toe the ‘special treatment of minorities’ narrative.”

It might be a good idea to consider the facts. And they are newsworthy.

This type of toilet is not at all popular with British people and hasn’t been found in this country for decades, possibly 50 years or more (I can’t remember them).

So, council officials, to cater for what they believe Muslims want, and indeed use, as they saw at a mosque, install two toilets that British people won’t use unless forced to. This doesn’t sound like a good idea and it has been brought about by pandering to what (some) Muslims do.

ENGAGE say: “Nile pans are used all around the world - in France [for example]”.
That’s wrong. They disappeared in France except for the very odd historical rarity, long ago. And, Brits back in the 50’s and 60’s on holiday in France when you could still find them thought they were a great joke.

Selective use of data

At the end of a post “French parliament votes to ban the burqa and niqab”, appropriately published on 14 July, it says “…are the musings of [the Press] in keeping with what Briton’s think? A ComRes poll commissioned by the Independent earlier this year found that 52% of respondents said ‘there should be no legal restrictions on wearing a burkha’ and 59% said they do not believe ‘it should be illegal to wear a burkha in any public space.’”

The ComRes survey quoted also included the following findings not mentioned by ENGAGE:

64% said it should be illegal to wear a burkha/face veil in places like banks and airports, and

61% said schools should be allowed to prevent teachers from wearing burkhas/face veils if they wish.

ComRes telephoned only 1,016 GB adults. Another survey carried out by Angus Reid at the same time interviewed 2,001 British adults and found:

22% agree with banning the Hijab in public places; 66% the Niqab, and 72% the Burqa

67% agreed that garments that conceal a woman’s face are an affront to British values.

A comparison of these and other surveys can be found HERE.


A circulation by Stoke-on-Trent City's Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education of advice to schools said: “Schools are advised to consider not scheduling exams in Ramadan, or holding parents' meetings in the evening to 'ensure better attendance.” The Daily Mail subsequently ran the headline: “Council forces schools to rearrange exams and cancel lessons to avoid offending Muslims during Ramadan”.

ENGAGE followed this with: “UK papers incite anti-Muslim hatred over Stoke council's Ramadan guidance”.

They complain: “Ramadan, which starts in mid-August this year, will only likely affect school pupils for a week in September as they return to school. And given that exams usually do not take place at the start of term, how relevant and appropriate are these headlines?”

Now as every Muslim and most non-Muslims know, the period of Ramadan varies from year to year with the phases of the moon: it not only could but most definitely will at some point clash with important exams. What do ENGAGE propose should be done then? For the whole country to take GCSE and A-level exams, earlier, later, or what? This is an important question.

And what about postponing parents’ meetings? Why should school staff and the parents of non-Muslim children have to be inconvenienced? Parents’ meetings could be especially important at the beginning of the school year.

ENGAGE also say it is up to the head teacher anyway. You wonder what is the point of the guidance and possibly think of what happened to Erica Connor, a head teacher who ran foul of Muslim sensitivities at school.

Paranoid or what?

On the 17 May ENGAGE published a post entitled “The relevance of the burqa to stabbing of Stephen Timms MP?

It went on to say: “On Saturday, The Daily Express carried the headline ‘Woman in Burkha held after MP is stabbed in stomach.’ The Daily Star phrased theirs similarly: ‘Labour MP Stephen Timms stabbed by woman in burkha.’

What relevance does the fact that the alleged attacker wore a burqa have to the crime committed? None whatsoever according to the facts that the Daily Express and Daily Star have reported, but it seems they just could not pass up the opportunity to take yet another sly swipe at burqa-wearers.”

It really smacks of paranoia to complain that the Express and Star mentioned the fact that the woman was wearing a burka.

She was wearing a burka – a most unusual form of dress – which you cannot help but notice, signifying an extremely strong religious outlook. It was newsworthy and it might have something to do with her motives.

One could add that hiding the face conceals facial expressions which are a clue to what a person is feeling and possibly their intentions, which is another reason why the burka is disliked and relevant in this case.

Perhaps the reporter shouldn’t have mentioned the attacker was a woman so there would be no danger of us all now being prejudiced against women.

Does ENGAGE represent British Muslims?

A good indicator of how many readers a website has is the volume of clicks that it generates on the links that it carries. People who leave comments on a website’s posts often give a link to their own site if they have one. Mine is The LibertyPhile.

I’ve made comments on sites such as Guardian CiF and Harry’s Place, and once had a mention on Iain Dale’s Diary, and my site visitors’ StatCounter shot up 50 to 100 visitors on those occasions. Even Pickled Politics had an impact. Also, a while back, when there was a link from Archbishop Cranmer’s site, the figure skyrocketed.

I’ve made seven comments on the ENGAGE website over the last nine months and the results have been zilch! Next to nobody has clicked through to follow up the information given. There can’t be many reading it.

My comments disagreed with the ENGAGE view but they were civil and sometimes informative. I would have expected some reaction.

Another good measure is the number of comments that a website gets added to its posts. Successful websites with lots of readers will get scores of comments, even hundreds, on their posts. In five out of the seven times I’ve commented on ENGAGE, I was the one lone commenter. It doesn’t generate much discussion either.

So, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia has just the help it needs: an organisation that doesn’t check facts, is selective with data, paranoid and completely unrepresentative of British Muslims.


Blogger LeucipottomySpoon82 said...

I read most of the article from Conservative Home, and a lot of the comments, especially those by a 'Jack C'. Are some people deliberately blind? I don't like commenting on matters like this usually because I get so angry when I see the sort of wilful stupidity that certain 'liberals' and others display. But Islamaphobia is a false construct, designed to make the perpetrators (for whatever reason) appear as if they were the victims. It makes me sick. Attacks against those of non-muslims by muslims is world-wide, non-stop for fourteen hundred years, and is there for everyone to see.

And it is not something new in this country either:

Now I'm going back to silence, before I lose my temper.

4 December 2010 at 10:02  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

People do not understand what Islam is about. Recently I heard a comment that if the US becomes an Islamic country, Israel will get what they deserve! Many of these people have no faith and assume they can just sit on the sidelimes and watch religions fight it out. The frightening part is that they are not interested in explanations, assuming that it is simply Islamophobia. Education, education, education!

A bit more on 'Squats' here:

4 December 2010 at 10:06  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Andrew Gilligan broke this story last week, Your Grace. How come it's taken CH so long to pick up on it?

One of the deluded souls sitting on this committee is my MP. One more reason I'm glad I voted UKIP. One more reason I'll continue to vote UKIP.

4 December 2010 at 10:20  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Islamophobia No, Islamofear Yes

A phobia is an irrational fear. To be fearful of Islam is entirely rational. Islam is a religion born out the ignorance. It has remained unchanged for 1300 years. It claims to speak the word of God to why should it change?

Its appeal is its absolute certainty, unlike Christianity that has abandoned some of its more revolting Old Testament beliefs. Islam has remained true to theirs. And how revolting they are!

Islam can have no place in a secular democratic world, for it will never acknowledge the primacy of secular law. This makes it dangerously corrosive; its fifth column is already amongst us. The more politicians pander to it the harder it will be to eradicate from this country, where is the Churchill who sees the danger and is willing to stand up to it?

Over the top? We shall see.

4 December 2010 at 10:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say there should be 'Christianophobia' committees in Islamic countries too!

Lets be honest, some of the reporting by the Mail is designed to stir up enmity and is hardly balanced.

By the way, Christianity has not abandoned its Old Testament roots. Rather it interprets the actions of the tribes of Israel as being rooted in a particular historical context and mandated by God. It also holds there is now a new revealation superceeding and sheding light on the first one.

And, to conclude, the greatest protection against the evil of Islam, its relentless growth in Western cities and its abominable 'message' is a return to our European Christian hereitage, not secularism!

Mr E. Man

4 December 2010 at 11:55  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Mr E. Man

Then prepare to be disappointed!

4 December 2010 at 12:02  
Blogger LeucipottomySpoon82 said...

@ Graham Davies:

This seemed appropriate, lol.

4 December 2010 at 12:36  
Anonymous len said...

As the foundations of Islam are rigid control,total submission,and intimidation if one even thinks of departing from the 'faith' or considering another religion I would think 'Islamophobia' is a totally natural response.
Any religion which seeks total control of an individual and restricts freedom of will and choice physically,morally ,and spiritually needs to be treated with the utmost suspicion.

4 December 2010 at 13:35  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

Anonymous said...

I say there should be 'Christianophobia' committees in Islamic countries too!

There should be bloody well Christianophobia committees Here as Christians get no protection it seems.

4 December 2010 at 14:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Graham Davis ...

Does "secular law" really have "primacy" and the last say?

Maybe, just maybe, the growing scourge represented by Islam has a hidden purpose - who knows?

Time, my friend, will tell.

4 December 2010 at 14:19  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

The chance of ENGAGE bringing objectivity to this important task is zero and it undermines any hope of the APPG producing a useful result.

An ‘important task’ that will produce a ‘useful result’ for whom? The very fact that the group has ‘Islamophobia’ in its title means that its deliberations will be biased towards Islam and Muslims; it shows that the group has already made up its mind that hatred or fear of Islam is wrong and must be combated (through further restrictions on our freedom of speech, presumably).

How much better to have a parliamentary group on Islam, to examine the teachings of Islam and then recommend that the Qur’an be banned on the grounds of hate speech and incitement to murder. Instead, though, we have a group of MPs set on proving their multicultural credentials by kowtowing to the world’s most backward religion. As Mr Davis says, we need a Churchill… or even a Stadler.

4 December 2010 at 14:32  
Anonymous JayBee said...

This committee has already made up its mind. Its Chair is Conservative MP Kris Hopkins. His constituency is Keighley, where after 13 years of Nulab appeasement of Muslims, purely for their potential block vote, we now have Hopkins doing his best to retain those block votes for his party.

He is already on record as saying:
"Whilst challenges will undoubtedly arise in the weeks and months ahead, my colleagues and I are hugely committed to the task in hand. I believe there is already a very strong resolve amongst members to better understand the complex issues involved, and to propose considered, evidence-based policies to tackle Islamophobia wherever it exists."

So there you have it. Another fait accompli. Another stitch up.

By employing Engage as advisers they ensure that the 'evidence' presented will be what their itching ears want to hear and thus they will get a nice warm feeling that confirms them in their settled viewpoint. This committee has already decided that any, and every, anti-Islamification stance must be bad. It is their intention to tackle 'Islamophobia' before they have heard a shred of evidence regarding the causes and concerns that fuel it.

These MP's are as prejudiced as the judges in the Wilders case.

4 December 2010 at 15:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Recently I heard a comment that if the US becomes an Islamic country, Israel will get what they deserve!"

It will never happen here. Americans take alot of crap and they are pretty tolerant people but they do reach a point where their boudary has been crossed and when it does they will rise up and do what needs to be done to protect their way of life.

4 December 2010 at 16:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course there is Islamophobia; no point in denying it. Some of these comments evidence it. Equally, there's a potential threat to our culture. Just as there's still anti-semitism and anti-catholicisism.

Hopefully this Committee will fulfil its mission and advise on how to tackle it "where ever it exists."

And no, I'm not a 'leftie' but a Conservative!

Mr E.Man

4 December 2010 at 17:21  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

I hope you a right Anonymous (16:43).

Not in Austria either according to this link which I had on E-mail from Jonny Rottenborough but oddly doesn't appear in the above comments:

We need an MP with the same backbone.

4 December 2010 at 17:32  
Blogger English Viking said...

War between the 'kuffar' and the Islamic world, over Islam (not oil) is inevitable.

I just hope it happens before we have become so weak we cannot win, which at the moment looks doubtful.

4 December 2010 at 19:59  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Your Grace, heartening to see that Dave Spart is still with us. With enemies like him your communicant has always felt safe.

Mr AncientBriton, a wonderful German lesson, to be widely spread.

4 December 2010 at 21:22  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ AncientBriton (17:32)—My comment did appear on this page but then vanished without a trace.

4 December 2010 at 22:39  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Hello, hello, hello! What's going on 'ere then Johnny? Censorship or gremlins?

4 December 2010 at 22:58  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I think con home recently tried to outline what this committie should be trying to do or not do which perhaps is the art of politics.
Will this committie point out Labours polices have increased Islamophobia , that carless mass immigration has caused a rupture in the cultural fabric that poltics should have thought about many years ago and not pigeon holed into a rabid form of unreason by hardend hearts .
But then again is this commitie looking at islamophobia from a civic perspective or from being of another faith .
It is of little use trying to tell them about about neutrality or even equality for it will seek to tackle the headlines and the scaremongers , by the looks of it it is little qualified to do anything else .
Will it ask how offensive it is for a muslim to turn to another faith , or what Islam proposes to do about creating women Imans , are these not pertenant to Islamophobia .
But this is the wierd world of politics , inquisitions into matters in a legal perspective only in this case not querying two different legal structures or there intrinsic qualities.

It was interesting to see nudge theory and Steve Hiltons name mentioned in the same sentence , the behavorial physcology experts being courted to get us do us to do things without banning them . Having thought about this subject and its warm influences , iam not too sure if it will bring about deconstruction of left and right thinking , or perhaps behave in a real time sort of way . I then wondered if the success of getting late tax returns by styling the request letter was , not in its self behavorial physcology , for it never mentioned that a goverment that nudges could do so for things not on a manfesto , and therefore a fraud takes place with the electorate .
By all means vote for the nudge party , although I am struggling to know if it could not be anything more than a smokescreen for decieving the public if used in certain ways.
Let your yes be yes and your no be no , I fail to see why this is being talked about as being old hat .

4 December 2010 at 22:58  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Ancient Briton—I hope it’s gremlins. The newspaper websites are censoring comments about Islam more than they used to so Blogger is a very important asset for free speech.

4 December 2010 at 23:20  
Anonymous TheObserver said...

I wonder what's the fuss is all about? Christians had stopped burning anyone at the stake a long time ago, among other things. They just haven’t finish warmongering and spooking themselves for their misadventures.

English Viking, please continue your freedom in porn, treating women as sex items to be used and then thrown away as you please, replicating Sodom and Gomorrah, freedom of self- culling (unborn babies) and lying to yourself. It took billions to attack two Muslim Nations and years to kill a few terrorists. Do you have what it takes to start the next crusade against the true Muslims that fight not for the sake of terror but God? Who would support gay soldiers anyway? The angels?

Christians still observed the Old Testaments? What a lie!

5 December 2010 at 02:00  
Anonymous len said...

Jesus Christ never advocated violence against anyone.Quite the reverse!
In fact I think almost all of the disciples ended up being killed in a violent manner.
No true follower of Christ causes violence against anyone, the fact that some alleged 'follower`s' have committed acts of violence shows that they are not true'followers'.

The true 'battle' between Christians and all who oppose Christianity is not a physical battle but a spiritual one!

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms".(Ephesians 6:12)

5 December 2010 at 08:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you accept the concept of a 'just war'? Facism, Communism and perhaps Islam today, all required the 'two sword' approach.

The natural law not only permits but on occasions demands that violence is met with violence.

Regretable, but true.

Mr. E. Man

5 December 2010 at 09:20  

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