The Sun is the biggest selling newspaper in Britain. It sells just under 3 million copies a day, and claims to reach 10 million. That's why when it puts such falsehoods and distortions on its front page it's a big deal. This is today's front page. On Saturday, the day after the alleged bombers of July 21st were arrested, its front page was a picture of one of the men, half naked, with the headline: "GOT THE BASTARDS".
What I like most about their front page is the juxtaposition of politically correct policing with racist murders on our doorstep. Obviously the Sun would like us to go back to the days prior to the Macpherson report, when the death of Stephen Lawrence led police to suspect the friend who was with them and to not tell his parents anything of the case. He was murdered by racists who are still at large. Political correctness is the catch-all of the right wing media, a stick it can use to beat those it thinks as "useful idiots". It's also vile that they consider the Human Rights act a bad thing, when it's probably the finest piece of legislation New Labour has ever passed.
Speaking of useful idiots, here's Anthony Browne
, with a point i'm sure you'll agree with:
Islamic radicals, like Hitler, cultivate support by nurturing grievances against others. Islamists, like Hitler, scapegoat Jews for their problems and want to destroy them. Islamists, like Hitler, decree that the punishment for homosexuality is death. Hitler divided the world into Aryans and subhuman non-Aryans, while Islamists divide the world into Muslims and sub-human infidels. Nazis aimed for their Thousand-Year Reich, while Islamists aim for their eternal Caliphate. The Nazi party used terror to achieve power, and from London to Amsterdam, Bali to New York, Egypt to Turkey, Islamists are trying to do the same.
The two fascisms, one racial and one religious, one beaten and the other resurgent, are evil in both their ideology and their methodology, in their supremacism, intolerance, belief in violence and threat to democracy.
The support of Islamic fascism spans BritainÃs Left. The wacko Socialist Workers Party joined forces with the Muslim Association of Britain, the democracy-despising, Shariah-law-wanting group, to form the Stop the War Coalition. The former Labour MP George Galloway created the Respect Party with the support of the MAB, and won a seat in Parliament by cultivating Muslim resentment.
It's often said that once you've compared someone or something to Hitler or the Nazis, you've lost the argument. Ignoring that, let's just humour Mr Browne for a short time. Most Muslims don't want the destruction of Israel, or the death of all Jews. What both they and I want is a negotiated settlement, a complete withdrawal of the IDF from the West Bank and Gaza, and East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Call this the two state solution or whatever you like. Palestine is, and always be an issue for Muslims until this is sorted. Also recognise he doesn't call fundamentalists Islamist extremists, he tars all Muslims as Islamists. The first problem with this disturbing theory is that there are no Islamic fundamentalist regimes which govern a major country. You can argue about Iran and Saudi Arabia all you like, but they are not governed by al-Qaida. They don't call for the destruction of the West or for a caliphate, whether Iran calls the United States the great Satan or not. Hitler gained power in 1933 in a country that had been humiliated with defeat in the first world war, had its back broken by the Treaty of Versailles, and had suffered two major financial meltdowns. The ground was fertile for extremism. None of that is here today. Let's not dwell on the full number of deaths attributed to the Nazis, but just on a generally accepted figure of those who died in the Holocaust. 6 million Jews were tortured, starved and finally gassed during the second world war, mostly during 1941-45, not to mention the repression before then. The highest figure Islamic terrorism has got, if you want to call it that, was slightly below 3,000 on September the 11th. Let's also forget about the deaths of 500,000 through sanctions in Iraq, about how Israel was founded on terrorism, and how up to a million may have died since the war on Iraq.
Anthony Browne mentions the case of the girl who won the right to wear the jilbab to school. I wasn't a supporter of that decision, but I'm also not a supporter of school uniforms, which was what she was claiming was unfair. The fact that she wanted to wear a jilbab was just part of the story, again distorted by Browne. The Guardian in fact did not comment on the case in an editorial, but it did print a number of letters
, none of which were fully complimentary or supported the decision.
Islamic fundamentalism is not a threat to democracy. Only a tiny microcosm of men and women support the idea of a caliphate or even sharia law. What is a threat to democracy is those who are using the attacks by those who Anthony Browne calls Islamic fascists to remove our fundamental freedoms, to lock us away without charge and to ship people out to countries where torture is common-place, to name just a few. We're not the useful idiots. The attackers of freedom, both in the shape of the right and fundamentalists, religious or not, are the ones who should be in the dock.