The Three Stooges
When it comes to the Brittany Pettibone, Lauren Southern, and Martin Sellner UK situation, the responsibilities and blame fall squarely on the shoulders of those at the top of the government authority ladder. Throughout my research on the issues it became clear to me the level of competence on display is on par with The Three Stooges. The situational comedy here falls a bit more flat in comparison, of course. To put this another way, when I look at Amber Rudd, Theresa May, or Sadiq Khan’s various misadventures in government they’ve embarked on? I consider myself blessed and fortunate to be living in the United States. Here, the metaphorical shadow of politicians fumbling around in the dark is much less pronounced. Sure, it still happens. But at least America still has some dignity. The same can’t be said for the country going through a messy divorce with the European Union.
I’ve only gotten around to finishing this page of my research now, after publishing the bulk of my findings, because it seemed more of an add-on that didn’t exactly stay close to the main point I was going for in my UK essay. I decided to finish what I started anyway because it still speaks to the state of affairs with free speech and governance in the United Kingdom.
I felt like something still had to be said too, here. I find it miraculous the UK managed to survive as long as it has. But that’s more a testament to the people’s strength to persevere rather than the incompetence of those in charge.
Guess I didn’t realize things were this bad.
She was the Home Secretary in charge of the banning of Brittany Pettibone, Lauren Southern, and Martin Sellner from the UK. But in the middle of putting this whole essay series together she resigned. The event that set off the calls for Amber Rudd to resign was an internal Home Office memo leaked to the Guardian. The subject is migrant deportation quotas. Something that the Home Office doesn’t have the best history of, seeing as they lost 56,000 foreigners liable for deportation late last year.
Six pages long, saying the department had set “a target of achieving 12,800 enforced returns in 2017-18.” But more importantly, the memo talks about progressing on the “path towards the 10% increased performance on enforced returns, which we promised the home secretary earlier this year.”
That means Amber Rudd knew about it. Which becomes an issue after she told Yvette Cooper of the Home Affairs Select Committee “we do not have targets for removals.”
The memo was prepared by Hugh Ind (director general of the Home Office Immigration Enforcement agency) back in June 2017. Amber Rudd, her immigration minister Brandon Lewis, and several other senior level people were copied into the document. Sources told the Guardian there was no way Amber Rudd didn’t know, as she had set that 10% removal goal herself. It was painful to watch Amber flip-flop in the public eye so recklessly in the days prior to the memo. All she did was dig her own grave in terms of public trust.
Amber Rudd has a past history of misleading her government colleagues. In fact, on the same line of topic in terms of goals/milestones she was responsible for overseeing. When Amber Rudd served the post of Energy Secretary back in November 2015, it came out she misled Parliament when promising the UK was “on course” for their renewable energy target. The letter leaked to The Ecologist revealed that the UK was nearly 25% short of meeting the EU’s renewable energy targets by 2020.
Let’s explore her decision making a bit, over this past year. To that effect the European migrant issue is a good place to start. On July 3rd 2017, Amber Rudd announced the UK Syrian refugee resettlement program (20,000 migrants brought to Britain by 2020) was going to expand the allowed nationalities. Any Iraqi, Kurdish, or Palestinian caught up in Syria and having to flee again would be welcomed at Britain’s doorstep. Amber said the UN refugee agency’s advice of “more diversity” in regards to quotas is what led her to make the move. Here’s a thought. That migrant return quota that caused Amber Rudd to resign wouldn’t have been necessary in the first place if these “diversity initiatives” like the one just mentioned were pursued to begin with. Same thing applies to terrorism. If you don’t want your cities in Europe to be attacked, curbing migration does wonders on decreasing the chances of that.
In a demonstration of her tone-deafness on terrorism, at the end of July 2017 Amber Rudd made the bold claim that “only terrorists” use encryption. What Rudd says those that are “real people,” would be willing to part with it. Encryption at its most basic form is a feature of technology that vitalizes the privacy rights of individuals. People have a right to keep to themselves and away from the snooping eyes of websites, law enforcement, and the government.
“Real people often prefer ease of use and a multitude of features to perfect, unbreakable security … Who uses WhatsApp because it is end-to-end encrypted, rather than because it is an incredibly user-friendly and cheap way of staying in touch with friends and family? Companies are constantly making trade-offs between security and ‘usability’, and it is here where our experts believe opportunities may lie.”
The reaction from Rudd’s critics were apt in pointing out that it wasn’t her place to make such statements. From another angle it was also nonsensical that Amber’s strategy would be feasible from a marketing standpoint. If only some apps gave up end-to-end encryption, users would move to a competitor who did offer those options.
On October 3rd 2017, Amber Rudd announced a ban on the sale of acids to anyone under age 18. This was in light of more than 400 attacks that happened in the six months prior. Selling corrosive substances to anyone under the age of 18 would carry six months in prison or a fine, or both. Anyone caught carrying acid could face up to four years in prison, or a fine, or both. Both of these punishments were backed around how the UK government legislated their bans on knives. Also on the 3rd, Amber Rudd announced a law concerning people who repeatedly viewed terrorist content online being punished with up to 15 years in jail.
This is to say, as Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s approach to dealing with extremism and radicalization was the complete removal of content that could offend.
“I want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions, face the full force of the law,” said Rudd.
While the Home Office gave their reassurances there’d be wiggle room for people who are curious or click a link by mistake. But when it comes to academics and journalists there’d be contention abound. On a side note, Amber was clearly resentful on how tech companies were treating the demands of politicians like her, calling their attitude “patronising.” What kind of demands was Rudd making? Let’s see. On April 9th 2018, Politico reported on the call to action Amber was making to social media companies in regards to violent crime. She was passing the blame on to someone else, as news got around the internet that London surpassed New York in murder rates. When faced with claims of police cuts causing the problem she was stone-faced in her denial of such a connection. Passing the blame off instead.
“Judge us on our record,” Amber Rudd says.
Well Amber, I am. Your record sucked.
When it comes to the United Kingdom’s problems, there has to be mention of the folks at the top. That means Prime Minister Theresa May. She wouldn’t have been as relevant to the issues of free speech in the UK, if it weren’t for the fact May served as Home Secretary beforehand (from 2010 to 2016).
Let’s take a walk inside Theresa May’s head when it comes to the topic of “defeating extremism.” In this speech from March 2015, we can get a better understanding of the agenda at work here. She makes it clear in her opening remarks that this “completely new counter-extremism strategy” she’s putting forward is in response to not just events in the United Kingdom, but internationally. Her stated aim is to tackle extremism in any form. To that effect, Theresa May’s definition of “British values” contradicts itself in its embracement of particular Western values (regard for the rule of law, participation in and acceptance of democracy, equality, free speech and respect for minorities) while simultaneously asserting that’s possible to incorporate in a pluralistic fashion (multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious).
“Islamist extremists believe in a clash of civilisations. They promote a fundamental incompatibility between Islamic and Western values, an inevitable divide between “them and us”. They demand a caliphate, or a new Islamic state, governed by a harsh interpretation of Shari’a law. They utterly reject British and Western values, including democracy, the rule of law, and equality between citizens, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion or sexuality. They believe that it’s impossible to be a good Muslim and a good British citizen. And they dismiss anybody who disagrees with them – including other Muslims – as “kafirs”, or non-believers. We must always take care to distinguish between Islam – a major world religion followed peacefully by the overwhelming majority of one billion Muslims worldwide – and Islamist extremism. Islam is entirely compatible with British values and our national way of life, while Islamist extremism is not – and we must be uncompromising in our response to it.”
In the face of the government’s battle with hate crime, Theresa May props up Community Security Trust to contend with antisemitism, along with TellMAMA when it comes to anti-Muslim attacks. The UK government’s approach is to build relationships with civil society organizations that they believe serve as an extension to their overall goals.
A further review of Theresa May’s actions as Home Secretary serves as supporting evidence of her political goals. Such as accusing Edward Snowden of “damaging national security” when he revealed how intimate the access is for GCHQ to people’s emails and messages thanks to their relationship with the NSA. While Theresa had strong words on her “toughness” towards illegal migrants, the programs she put in place only resulted with 11 people having to leave country. The usual passing-the-blame game for failing on mass migration cuts ensued within the cabinet later on in May’s tenure. Theresa outsourced explaining to the public why she couldn’t keep her promises to her immigration minister James Brokenshire.
The Guardian article on the topic isn’t exactly flattering.
“Her six years at the Home Office were marked by an instinctive secrecy, a talent for “going missing” or delegating when things went wrong, and a too careless approach to civil liberties.”
The brass balls on display by Theresa May in her speech at the Police Federation Conference in May 2014 was a turning point for the police of Britain. Her remarks were harsh on topics like “stop and search” and other perceived public failures. May wasn’t afraid to lay blame to more than “a few bad apples.” She went full blanket, vowing to break the power of the police union. It was disrespectful enough to cast a long spell of silence over the audience. 36 organizational reforms were shoved down the federation’s throat under threat that “change” would come. Whether they all liked it or not. Attendees were kind in calling Theresa May a “bully” afterward, giving the tyrannical malice forced by her hand.
Where this leads in terms of policies came to be known in August 2014. That’s when she wrote her outline for the future in regards to the fight against extremism. Syria’s collapse and the emergence of ISIS groups made it clear that the threat of the Middle East was evolving. By this point already, 500 British citizens traveled to Syria and Iraq, joining terror organizations. Already at that point, May had “toughened” the Royal Prerogative rules. Giving the Government powers to remove passports from British citizens if there’s reason able to believe they’re traveling abroad for nefarious purposes. But the threat of homegrown extremism within Britain’s borders served as another task ahead. To tackle “radicalisation,” Theresa May was: tightening up the rules surrounding charities and the powers vested to the Charity Commission, working closer with Ofcom to stop “extremist broadcasts,” and improving relations on the issue with schools, prisons, and universities. This meant the UK government was re-evaluating the PREVENT program and enacting measures to make sure they don’t work with organizations that “don’t share British values.”
But most importantly, the lines were getting tighter over their attack vector. Offline and online.
“Dealing with terrorism and extremism will require continued commitment and international collaboration. Since I was made Home Secretary, I have constantly made the case for legislation to ensure the police and security services have access to the communications data they need, for example. And when it comes to preventing radicalisation, I want us to build on the work of the Extremism Task Force, which was set up following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby last year. The Government will therefore make Prevent a statutory duty for public bodies; I am looking again at the case for new banning orders for extremist groups that fall short of the legal threshold for terrorist proscription, as well as for new civil powers to target extremists who seek to radicalise others.”
So as you can see, it was Theresa May that made PREVENT evolve into more of a legal obligation.
In April 2015 Theresa May promised attacks on Muslims would become a specific hate crime if the Tories would win the upcoming election. That is to say – it was indeed a move in order to score the Islam vote. Even at this early stage, TellMAMA was positioned as the go-to entity for approval in this regard. They praised the decision. Especially in light of the information sharing agreement the group signed with police forces in the previous month.
If the implicit political moves Theresa May took against police in May 2014 (befitting of only a dictator) weren’t enough? In May 2015 Theresa worked hard to remove any doubts of her totalitarian soul. She proposed counter-extremism powers that’d allow vetting for programs from British Broadcasters. To put it more simply, it was a plan to check TV shows for extremist content and have British authorities censor out what they thought went “too far.” I’ll say it plain and clear. This is generally considered to be a red-flag of Totalitarianism. The fact that Theresa May felt so little about stifling freedom of speech here should raise your eyebrows. You should be thankful that the former culture secretary Sajid Javid wrote a letter to David Cameron telling him how tone-dead Theresa May was being here. One of his laid-out concerns to Cameron in particular was the difficulty the UK government had in defining extremism. With that in mind, in the same article, it says May had plans to require the Home Office “extremism analysis unit” to dictate for the first time in particular which individuals or organizations the public sector should or shouldn’t interact with.
“This will make sure nobody unwittingly lends legitimacy or credibility to extremists or extremist organisations.” said Thought Leader Theresa May, before setting ablaze the grave of George Orwell.
By the 3rd of December 2017, it became clear that Theresa May goofed up rolling out her social policies. Alan Milburn (former Labour cabinet minister and chair of the government social mobility commission) announced his social mobility team was walking away from their duties over “lack of political leadership.”
Alan wrote a scathing resignation letter to the Prime Minister:
“I do not doubt your personal belief in social justice, but I see little evidence of that being translated into meaningful action. The need for political leadership in this area has never been more pressing. Whole communities and parts of Britain are being left behind economically and hollowed out socially. The growing sense that we have become an ‘us and them’ society is deeply corrosive of our cohesion as a nation. The 20th-century expectation that each generation would do better than the last is no longer being met. At a time when more and more people are feeling that Britain is becoming more unfair rather than less, social mobility matters more than ever.”
I couldn’t have phrased the sentiments better myself. Mr. Milburn hits the nail on the head of the overarching problem going on, in the administrative and political sense. When he says the government “does not seem to have the necessary bandwidth to ensure the rhetoric of healing social division is matched with the reality,” he means Theresa May is all talk, no walk.
Alan wasn’t alone in his thoughts. The former integration tsar Dame Louise Casey came out two days later, criticizing the UK government for doing “absolutely nothing” in regards to community cohesion for one full year after her report on their failure to address it.
Sadiq Khan is the Mayor of London currently. The sanitized version he provides in terms of his background comes from this website of his. Our first Muslim Mayor of London was born locally. His parents migrated from Pakistan in the 1960s and got relatively sufficient work and living conditions to raise a family with. Backed by a state-school education, Khan’s political career took hold in 2005 when he was elected MP for Tooting. It should come as no surprise, given the earlier topics highlighted in this paper, that Sadiq Khan’s first ministerial post was to the spot of Minister for Community Cohesion. Much like Fiyaz Mughal and Shahid Malik, Sadiq Khan also had a hand in the shaping of UK government policies in regards to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. After a stint as the Minister of Transport, Sadiq Khan found himself taking lead in the Labour Party’s 2015 General Election campaign for London.
There’s a rather important part to the history of Sadiq Khan, though. One that gets glossed over in his personal biography.
“As a human rights lawyer, I defended people who were discriminated against, and ended up helping run a firm of 50 employees. I saw first-hand the impact discrimination can have on people’s lives – and this has made me determined to fight it wherever I see it.”
There’s a bit more… nuance to it than that. It’s important to come at this issue by first understanding the significance of Sadiq Khan’s background in law. It’s something that the BBC’s sanitized biographical profile on him manages to do more justice to than Khan himself can. He studied law at University of North London, getting straight to work as a trainee solicitor under the guidance of human rights lawyer Louise Christian in 1994. The BBC tip-toes around this part of Khan’s life carefully, electing to play up his courtroom conflicts with Met police especially.
Point here being when it comes to officialism in sourcing, the BBC is reliable in setting the career foundation for Sadiq Khan’s controversial ties.
The political baggage of Sadiq Khan is a thick chunk of history to contend with. It’s remarkable. Each article that explores the subject has its own contributions thrown into the mix, adding to a very damning stack of life choices. A fairly significant element of Khan’s debacle here is the fact he served as chair on the Muslim Council of Britain’s Legal Affairs Committee. A job and position that obliges one to advocate on behalf of the MCB’s interests in light of trouble with UK law. For an entity that acts as one of Britain’s biggest Islamic groups. While Sadiq Khan made his transition from law to politician after exiting the MCB by 2004, it’s still worth mentioning revelations in regards to the MCB made afterward.
In doing so it gets to the heart of the matter a bit. It’s easy to find yourself lost in the various strands of stories and rumors surrounding Sadiq’s hey-day. But by grounding yourself with the context that Khan was the legal person behind the Muslim Council of Britain? It puts it all into perspective here.
It took years for the UK government to acknowledge the issues surrounding MCB. In their December 2010 investigation, the authorities claimed that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to back the allegations brought forward against the Muslim Aid charity (which was founded by members of the MCB). At the time, the organization’s connections to funding Hamas and other dubious groups were brought into question (see the earlier section on Shahid Malik for more on that). Andrew Gilligan provided one of the best rebuttals you’ll find out there in terms of pointing to direct evidence on the matter. He hits home the point that the UK government acted in willful ignorance by ignoring nearly all of the allegations against Muslim Aid, and hamfisting the investigation in a way that allowed the illusion of being cleared and absolved of wrongdoing. But the stall tactics by authorities didn’t last too long. By 2014 Muslim Aid came under fire once more when it was revealed there were “irregularities” on their part. Seeing as how the group got £1,263,000 in UK government Gift Aid, the Charity Commission felt it was prudent to investigate the matter.
The grand slam connecting the Muslim Council of Britain to extremism came in December 2015. On the 17th, the UK government released a report that point to the Muslim Council of Britain having links with the Muslim Brotherhood. To be clear here, the review says Muslim Brotherhood supporters “played an important role in establishing and then running” the MCB and other organizations.
“The Brotherhood, a movement that views western society as corrupting and “inherently hostile to Muslim interests”, has exerted “significant influence” on the MCB, the Muslim Association of Britain and “Britain’s largest Muslim student organisation”, understood to be the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (Fosis).”
Despite the best efforts at sweeping the issue under the rug, the Muslim Council of Britain’s involvement with extremist groups could no longer be ignored. The ties between the UK government and the MCB were slashed back in 2009 after the group signed a document condoning violence against any country that supported a Gaza arms blockade.
Sadiq Khan was the lawyer for the Muslim Council of Britain. There. Is. No. Way. He. Was. Not. Aware. Of. These. Ties. Someone in Khan’s position is privy to confidential information and given intimate access to the organization’s innermost secrets. In the end, Sadiq thought the best course of action as someone in his position was go into politics.
A lot of Sadiq Khan’s controversial ties came out during the final stretch of his campaign for Mayor, and thus didn’t get the full air of objectivity and overall public attention it deserves. With that in mind, the most effective approach to this discussion is by looking not at what the adversaries have claimed. What about Khan’s sympathizers?
In an apparent defense of Sadiq Khan, Maajid Nawaz penned an article for The Daily Beast. Nawaz’s first-hand account is the closest thing to a counterargument on Khan’s behalf that exists. One that was made conveniently after Khan’s Mayor campaign victory. Their connection is Khan served as Maajid’s lawyer back in 2002 while captive as an “Islamist political prisoner in Egypt,” according to Nawaz.
The crux of Maajid’s argument is here:
“Sadiq Khan is no Muslim extremist. And it is not only his track record voting for gay rights that proves this. Having known him when I was a Muslim extremist, I know that he did not subscribe to my then-theocratic views.”
Nawaz makes it clear from the outset that scrutinizing Sadiq Khan’s history is just as important as any other person in such a career position. The facts are laid bare here. Khan’s brother-in-law Makbool Javaid served as a spokesguy for the al-Muhajiroun terror group. By 2003 Khan had popped up in the London Islamist social sphere. Seen at conferences with the likes of al-Muhajiroun’s Sajeel Abu Ibrahim (who ran a Pakistani camp that trained 7/7 bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan). The hypocrisy of which is astounding when considering that in the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings Sadiq Khan participated in an open letter to Tony Blair blaming foreign policy for the tragedy. By 2004 Sadiq Khan was coming to the defense of characters like the Muslim Brotherhood cleric Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. Sadiq argued to the House of Commons, as chair of the Muslim Council of Britain’s Legal Affairs Committee, that Qaradawi (author of a book titled The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam, which argues in favor of wife beating) wasn’t an extremist. Qaradawi would later be denied entry to the UK after issuing a fatwa that advocated in favor of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens.
“Why is it OK for a mayor to have shared panels with all manner of Muslim extremists, while actively distancing himself from, and smearing counter-extremist Muslims?” is a central question presented by Nawaz.
One would expect Sadiq Khan to take a unilateral approach for the entire Muslim faith. That it’d be beneath him to exploit the inner feuds within the Islamic sects and community. But that’s exactly what Sadiq Khan did. He “gamed” the community cohesion system in a grab for power.
Hats off to Maajid Nawaz for going over this in his article. It’s more indicative of the type of character Sadiq Khan is, with reflection on his actions. When 2010 rolled around, Khan’s re-election in Tooting had him facing off against a Liberal Democrat named Nasser Butt. Nasser was also a Muslim. But the difference between Khan and Nasser was their sects of Sunni and Ahmadi, respectively. By exploiting the built-in societal bias against Ahmadi Muslims, Khan created enough of an inter-wedge to secure his victory.
Let me remind you that these past behaviors were highlighted by someone who has all means of reason for being lenient when it comes to discussing Sadiq Khan’s past. This was brought up by someone who has more personal weight in Sadiq’s favor.
It raises questions about Sadiq Khan’s authenticity. How important are human rights values to someone who took part in a political meeting with Islamic extremists that mandated the segregation of ladies to a different entrance upon arrival?
Doesn’t seem very western to do that sort of thing.
All in all this echoes the divisiveness seen in the wake of Sadiq Khan’s campaign trail. The political values and morals therein which bleed through to his tenure as Mayor of London.
Sadiq Khan was one of the voices speaking out that Amber Rudd needed to resign in light of the Windrush scandal.
“Latest revelations have exposed Amber Rudd even further as someone who appears completely unaware about what is going on in her own department. It frankly beggars belief. What the home secretary and prime minister don’t appear to understand is that the Windrush scandal is the direct consequence of their policies and not just another example of the administrative chaos at the Home Office. It is about a generation who have lived all their lives here suddenly feeling they are not wanted here. Rather than hiding behind process or blaming civil servants yet again, the time has now surely come for the home secretary to resign.”
But Sadiq was nicer to Amber Rudd in that regard, in comparison to the demands for Ken Livingstone’s resignation he pushed the very next day. This came in light of Livingstone calling Hitler a Zionist. Apparently statements like that are grounds for suspension from the Labour party because they see that as anti-Semitism. One could argue ex-mayor Livingstone’s situation seemed more urgent in the eyes of Sadiq Khan than what was going with the Home Secretary all the meanwhile. When taking into account other occasions Sadiq has suggested politicians resign (like Boris Johnston in November 2017 over some side-comments), it becomes clear the meaning of the word resign has less weight when it comes out of Khan’s mouth.
Something that will stick to Sadiq Khan’s legacy forever is when he said the threat of terror attacks were “part and parcel of living in a great global city.” He wasn’t speaking about London in particular when giving that line in September 2016, but it would haunt his career in the months that followed.
It’s worth pointing out that Sadiq was criticized for focusing on this fast food initiative in the midst of a knife crime epidemic sweeping London. Khan’s tale is also one about where he devotes his attention. In 2018, the potential for misplacing that came into focus. In January already there was a row where Conservative assembly member Shaun Bailey had a hard time getting a straight answer out of Khan, when pressed on the knife crime issue.
Bailey said to Khan:
“Mayor Khan, let me quite clear to you. This is not an attack. We had 85 young people die. I’m trying to help you understand that many people, like myself, who have been youth workers who don’t see a cohesive approach. That’s why I am saying it. I’m asking you discretely, I’m asking you a clear question. What will be different under your approach to what went before to stem the flow? We look at your knife crime strategy and I don’t see a cohesive approach.”
“Well that’s a speech followed by a question, but I’ll wait for the speech to end,” Khan snapped back.
“Just answer the question, Mayor. What’s going to be different? There’s your question.”
When faced with the realities of the people’s needs, Khan has a harder time embracing that. In comparison to his personal agenda goals anyway. Sometimes that clashed. See the comparison between what Sadiq Khan promised when it came to stop-and-search policies compared to what he ended up having to actually do with stop-and-search policies.
A noteworthy highlight of Sadiq Khan’s tenure as Mayor so far is his relationship with US President Donald Trump. The feud between the two started from the Muslim ban proposed by Trump in December 2015 in light of the San Bernardino shooting. Many see that as an early standout of Trump’s campaign trail pledges and promises. His rationale at the time for proposing a ban of Muslims entering US borders was the threat to safety Jihadi extremism posed to the American people. The extensive blanket nature of Trump’s proposal would of course be challenged once he came into office. But what’s important here is the Islam vs. West theme Donald brought to the forefront of the public eye back then. It’s something Sadiq Kahn would certainly remember.
On May 7th 2016, when Sadiq Khan became Mayor of London, he mentioned Donald Trump in some of his first public remarks. The majority of Khan’s words are the usual jargon about upholding public trust you’d come to expect out of any politician of any stripe in the West these days. The usual rhetoric promises about upholding diversity and equality throughout all sections of society, that the Labour party would usher in the people to a Utopian era.
It was towards the tail end of this Observer piece, when criticizing campaign opponents, that Sadiq called Trump out by name:
“They used fear and innuendo to try to turn different ethnic and religious groups against each other – something straight out of the Donald Trump playbook. Londoners deserved better and I hope it’s something the Conservative party will never try to repeat.”
Of course, Sadiq Khan wasn’t aware Donald Trump was going to win the 2016 Presidential Elections. He prepared for it though. In an interview with TIME magazine he did a few days later, Khan said he was going to meet with U.S. mayors ahead of time in order to work around the possibility of a Donald Trump win. This was in light of the Muslim ban proposal Trump had set out months earlier.
The topic of religious extremism was central to the interview as well. Khan called himself the antidote to it.
“But clearly, being someone who is a Muslim brings with it experiences that I can use in relation to dealing with extremists and those who want to blow us up. And so it’s really important that I use my experiences to defeat radicalization and extremism. What I think the election showed was that actually there is no clash of civilization between Islam and the West. I am the West, I am a Londoner, I’m British, I’m of Islamic faith, Asian origin, Pakistan heritage, so whether it’s [ISIS] or these others who want to destroy our way of life and talk about the West, they’re talking about me. What better antidote to the hatred they spew than someone like me being in this position?”
When asked about the points brought up by Conservatives during the campaign, Khan made it clear he faced fatwa campaigns routinely from traditional Muslims too.
It’s that sort of nuance that would come into effect when circling back around to the clash between Sadiq Khan and Donald Trump. It was this very interview that would later cause Trump to respond directly. Donald said he was happy that London elected their first Muslim mayor with Sadiq Khan, and clarified he’d be among the exceptions to his proposed ban. But Khan snapped back at this response. He wasn’t too big of a fan of it. In a statement to AP, Sadiq replied “Donald Trump’s ignorant view of Islam could make both our countries less safe — it risks alienating mainstream Muslims around the world and plays into the hands of the extremists.”
A rivalry was born. One that happened to play right into the hands of the political climate we see surrounding Fiyaz Mughal’s work. When Trump came into office, he and Sadiq would have their back and forth battles.
As January 2018 rolled around, the Trump/Khan war continued. President Trump ended up cancelling a trip he had scheduled for London in February as a response to the notion that the Obama Administration sold the best embassy location in London for “peanuts.” Sadiq’s sassy response stated outright that the visit was arranged by Theresa May. He claimed that Donald Trump’s visit to the city of London would’ve been met by protests. It’s clear by now that Sadiq didn’t like Donald Trump. With that in mind, you can imagine the look on Khan’s face the next one of his speeches got disrupted by right-wing protesters.
He couldn’t get rid of Donald that easy, either. In late April 2018 it was announced Trump is going to visit the UK in July. Sadiq couldn’t keep his comments to himself here, of course. Khan tweeted out something that swings us back around to the topic of free speech.
Recall that I said earlier that Sadiq Khan was slow on the horse when it came to tackling knife crime this past year. The reality of it right now is one week we’ve got an article (this one from May 11th) talking about how misplaced Sadiq Khan’s priorities are by focusing on this junk food advertisement ban despite the recent wave of stabbing violence in London. Next week on May 18th? A story pops up that another person was stabbed to death in the city.
It seems cut and dry on that basis alone but there’s a bit more complexity to it. Yes, Sadiq Khan eventually got off his butt and actually got more active in dealing with the knife attack epidemic problem. But was it too little, too late? Was it possible that Sadiq could’ve quashed the knife crime wave if he acted sooner? What was Khan doing elsewhere that distracted him from the immediate problems London was facing?
The answer to that is hate speech. Sadiq Khan spent a considerable amount of his valuable time as London’s Mayor speaking out against the terrors of online activity. On March 12th 2018, he posted a video where he read off mean tweets people sent his way online.
Below are the tweets read in Sadiq’s video. I am simply quoting them. These are other people’s words and not my own. However I took the liberty of tracking down where the tweets came from. I managed to find most of them, save one (number six came from a suspended account apparently).
- “Am I the only one who thinks @sadiqkhan looks like a pigeon?”
- “@Sadiqkhan looks like a sparrow.”
- “@sadiqkhan looks like a really shit stunt double for Jose Mourinho.”
- “I say KILL the Mayor of London and you will be rid of ONE Muslim Terrorist” (signs point to an American being behind this account)
- “Muslims need to be shot or hanged!! The mayor is doing nothing about attacks.” (came from some guy in Los Angeles)
- “Muslims have no dignity. I wish Sadiq Khan would just blow himself up like they all do. He might get his 12 virgins.” (mentioned here)
- “@MayorofLondon I wish someone would build a fire and throw you on it you useless sack of shit.”
- “if you use a knife to mutilate your daughter’s vagina will the full force of the law be brought down on you? Asking for a Muslim.” (this one has two sources, which we’ll go over)
- “There’s an easy solution for terrorism. Deport the Muslims. Starting with your pathetic self.” (some guy from Florida tweeted this one)
The second half of the video has Sadiq explaining he’s concerned about minority children see these sorts of tweets online. In addition, he expresses his woes about “young girls and women who have been driven from these” social media platforms and somehow bringing gender equality backwards.
There’s irony in Sadiq’s words. Seeing how one of the tweets came from a vocal, politically-active woman in the Muslim community. But that’ll become clear later.
For now let’s assess these tweets themselves. There’s a necessity for scrutiny and doubts, seeing as in the recent past Sadiq Khan faked tweets in one of his anti-knife crime campaigns. So from nine cherry-picked tweets, we can whittle it down to six based on the fact the first three are throwaway jokes. We can narrow it down to three after taking location into consideration. TellMAMA doesn’t count tweets from America in their “anti-Muslim incident” statistics, so we can use that same principle here.
Three tweets is what we’re left with. One from a suspended account, another from a random UK taxi driver. That brings us back to the eighth tweet in the list. The thing about that particular tweet mentioning genital mutilation is CONTEXT. More significantly here than anywhere else in that list of tweets Khan prattled off. To put it simply, the original tweet came from Shazia Hobbs. However the London government’s Twitter account cited a later tweet from a different account that used the exact same wording to that effect. Both tweets were directed toward Sadiq Khan, regardless.
No matter how much they’ll try and deny this, Sadiq Khan used what Shazia Hobbs said to him as something that should be branded as “hateful.” Who is Shazia Hobbs? She’s someone who survived and escaped from a forced Sharia marriage.
“My experience of it was part of life. I was beaten because he could, and he didn’t need to tell me he had this right under Sharia. It was normal — same as the forced marriage was normal and part of life. I had witnessed others getting forced into a marriage and so when my turn came I went along with it. At first I did protest but soon shut up when I realised protesting was not going to help me. I left him after three years and for that my father and the entire Pakistani community disowned me; I was no longer welcome and had to make a new life in the ‘white’ community. When all you have known is the Pakistani community trying to fit into a different community is hard.”
Now here Shazia Hobbs was, thrown into the blanket definition of what a modern “hater” is in the eyes of the Left. Face-to-face with an uncaring Mayor that doesn’t care how many people get stepped on, in the long march to this political correctness utopia he envisions. So you won’t hear about stories like Shazia’s. Just the usual haze of idealistic nonsense.
At the end of the day we’re left with a London situation that looks like this. If everything else didn’t matter in this case, here would be that exception. “London one of worst capitals in Europe for clean, safe transport, study shows” in big bold print.
Now. Whose fault is that? The product of Sadiq Khan’s work matters much much more than the media circlejerk surrounding him (TIME named him one of the top 100 most influential people), or the perception the public has. No matter how low that might sink.