Monday, December 17, 2007

Fisking the MPAC

This article (via ConservativeHome) made me more than a little angry:

"You would have to be sitting in a darkened room repeating the name of Allah since 7/7 to be unaware that the new front against Muslims by the Government is
being led by Sufi cults."

Since 7/7? Why exactly is that the date used here as the start of the "front against Muslims"?

Are they acknowledging that violent extremism is the root cause of the problems here, rather than some "Zio-Con" (their term, obviously not mine) conspiracy? If so then I'd congratulate them on the one statement in this entire article that isn't utterly absurd.

Referring to Sufism as a cult is so utterly offensive that if a non-Muslim said it there'd be understandable cries of Islamaphobia. Here it is though coming from the "Muslim" (which apparently means all the Muslims the author likes) Public Affairs Committee.

"It’s an old Russian trick, they used Sufi sects to pacify the Mujahadeen who were fighting for their freedom from occupation. These Sufi cults taught them to forget the world and be content sitting in darkened rooms repeating the name of Allah over and over and over again. The British used it in India too, creating groups who focused on every minor ritual and repeated the words ‘no politics’ over and over and over again…anyone guess who they are?"

Wait. So the same "cults" that are "leading the new front against Muslims" are in fact distinguished by a refusal to engage in politics? Congratulations you idiots you've just completely contradicted yourselves in the space of two pretty simple paragraphs.

The idea that the British "created" Sufism is hard to sustain if the Principles of Sufism were written in the 15th century. Is Wikipedia leading me astray or do MPAC actually know nothing about the history of Islam itself?

"The Sufi Muslim council are the recognisable face of the new Government appointed cults. However there are many Sufi groups operating throughout Britain doing work to pacify the Muslim mind."

The choice of the term "pacify" as their pejorative is unfortunate here. Isn't Islam supposed to be the religion of peace? Is the MPAC's criticism that the Sufis are making Muslims more Muslim?

"Recently these individuals belonging to these undercover cults took one step too far. They teamed up with Policy Exchange a pro Israel right wing, neo conservative think tank, which has gone out of its way to dig dirt on the Muslim community.

One of its attacks led to front page news and headlines across the UK when it claimed that a quarter of all mosques sold ‘hate literature’."

This is the real moment of close to clinical brain death stupidity. Are they seriously responding to a pretty centrist think tank's claim that British Islam has a problem with extremists by ranting about undercover cults co-operating with Zio-Cons? Perhaps they were upset that Policy Exchange were getting in the way of the MPAC's goal of becoming the number one body proving that British Islam has an extremism problem.

"However as we have been reporting on this website, Newsnight uncovered that these Sufi researchers had in fact forged the receipts to prove the case."

This article for the Guardian sets out the real extent of the possible problem with Policy Exchange's work. The allegations are serious but at most they suggest that 20 per cent rather than 25 per cent of mosques have a problem with extremist literature being sold on the premises. The core political message of the report still holds true and is proved prescient daily by the MPAC and their ilk anyway.

To be honest, I wouldn't have bothered rebutting these lunatics. Evolution clearly forgot them so I think it is fair enough that I should too. However, this section changed my mind:

"These Sufi researchers then fled the country to Mauritania for what the Zio-Con think tank called ‘religious purification’!

MPAC now wants to find out exactly who these Sufis are, who are working for the Zio-Con think tank. There were 8 Sufis who worked for them, and all apparently have gone abroad to hide while the storm is raging. They worked, according to Policy Exchange for over a year on the project, so some Muslim out there must have come into contact with them.

Who are they, what are their backgrounds … MPACUK will dig deeper and expose every last detail of the Sufis who tried to destroy their own community.

If you know who they are – please write in and we will expose these men and women for all the Muslim community to see. Write in now and let us do what the incompetent idiots in the Mosque should be doing, protecting our community."

This is a direct attempt to recreate the murder of Theo van Gogh. These people are not just wrong and ignorant. They're dangerous. Their nasty work threatens brave people with death. Of course, it isn't our job to enforce the law upon them if they have broken it by inciting violence.

However, some kind of campaign of peaceful resistance is in order. They've put their e-mail address there for those who wish to lynch by proxy. I reckon we subscribe them to some innapropriate newsletters.


Gracchi said...

Great post. My only disagreement is that Sufism is actually even older than Wikipedia says it is- as a trend it goes right back to the founding of Islam. Sufi leaders brought Islam to much of India and Indonesia as well as being the dominant Islamic leaders in Turkey for generations. The poet Rumi for example is amongst the national Turkish poets and has strong Sufist inclinations. For MPAC to say that he or Sufis aren't really Muslims invites ridicule upon MPAC- obviously they know no Islamic history.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant Matt. I agree with every word you write.