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Richard Dawkins and me: A reply to my many critics

26 August 2013

8:34 PM

26 August 2013

8:34 PM

In the Spectator last week, I described how Richard Dawkins had become a space-filler for empty-headed pundits with no idea what else to write about in these slow summer days.

The standard form was to upbraid him for being an Islamophobe because of a series of remarks he had tweeted about Islam in general and the behaviour of Islamist conservatives in particular. Some were crass, others reasonable. A few writers chose to add a variant, which has been chugging along for years now, and asserted that ‘militant atheism’ was as bad as ‘militant religion’. If I had had the space, I would have pointed out that militant atheism has a precise meaning. Communist regimes were militantly atheist. They closed churches, temples, mosques and synagogues and murdered or imprisoned the faithful because of their faith. Modern China, with its harrying of Falun Gong and determination to arrest the members of Christian house churches, remains militantly atheist, although less militant than it was at the height of Mao’s dementia. North Korea is another militantly atheist communist state, which survives into the 21st century to the despair of all who live in or near it.

Neither Richard Dawkins nor any other western atheist I know wants to make religion a criminal offence. They (we) want to argue against it. You cannot say the same for religious militants abroad or, indeed, in Britain.

I made that point by reporting on the case of Nahla Mahmoud, a refugee from the Sudan. (No other reporter had, so I thought I should.) Nahla had presented a short film deploring British Sharia courts on Channel 4. She said that when she lived under Sharia in Sudan, the godly had taught her that women were second class citizens. Because she spoke out, religious thugs have attacked her family in the Sudan, and she has to watch her back when she goes out at night here.

Rather than defend women like Nahla from her enemies, I said, pundits attacked Richard Dawkins and his kind.

[Alt-Text]


Not everyone was as pleased with the piece as I might have hoped. Owen Jones of the Independent saw a less-than-adulatory mention of his name, and cried that I was persecuting him.

‘Those who attack me for being in love with or somehow in league with Islam: here are the modern-day equivalents of the McCarthyites who assailed defenders of civil liberties as Communist fellow travellers, as soft on Communism or for being in bed with Moscow.’

I didn’t think I had attacked him particularly violently. I had just said he was a member of a loud claque of parochial and cowardly writers. Now that he is playing the victim, I find that I do need to educate him. McCarthyism was a movement led by the American Congress in the 1950s that forced thousands of people out of their jobs for their political beliefs. It was state-backed oppression. When I or anyone else disagrees with Jones, it is what we call ‘an argument’. People have them all the time. To fail to see the difference between a debate and a purge is vain, self-dramatising and a touch paranoid.

Still I read on and concluded that Jones wasn’t all bad.

‘The distinction should be made between fundamentalists, who should be attacked as such, but who constitute a small minority; and the majority of Muslims, who polls show abhor violence as much as any of us do. Attack religion by all means, and passionately so; but we have to stop the fuelling of the widespread demonisation of Muslims.’

Jones was prepared to treat all reactionary forces equally, I assumed. He would oppose Muslim fanatics as he opposed the BNP and EDL. By extension, he would also oppose reactionary Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism. All far rights were the same in his eyes – black or white, clerical or secular.

I entertained these kind thoughts until James Bloodworth, of Left Foot Forward, got in touch. Bloodworth, a genuine leftist rather than a poseur, said he had been having a Twitter discussion with Jones earlier this month, and asked him if he would sign a petition asking the police to investigate the threats against Nahla Mahmoud and her family. Jones stopped the conversation at once. Another Twitter user asked the same question. No reply. Bloodworth tried again, and for a third time. Jones met all requests with silence.

Yet when he responded to my piece, which discussed Nahla Mahmoud at length, he did not say that he refused to do what little he could to help her. He was, he asserted, the true victim – a victim of McCarthyism no less. Nahla’s sufferings were so insignificant he could not even recall them. Perhaps Jones never saw Bloodworth’s requests to show solidarity and offer support. It is possible, I suppose, that urgent business called him away every time Nahla’s name came up. I hope for his sake this is the truth of matter. Otherwise, he would be the worst kind of hypocrite: a white western leftist who cannot defend black African feminists against religious misogyny because they are suffering at the hands of the wrong type of oppressor.

How common are such people? Alex Gabriel, an atheist blogger, said I had failed to understand that it was possible to criticise Dawkins for being ‘a dickhead’ – to use his elegant language – and to oppose religious fundamentalism too. Of course it is, everyone can be in the wrong. And Dawkins of all people must know that there is no such beast as a sacred cow. All I can say in reply is that Gabriel’s even-handedness may exist in his blog, but it does not exist in modern culture. Look at the bureaucracy, the media, the universities. As I said in my original piece.

‘One day there will be a reckoning. One day, thousands who have suffered genital mutilation, religious threats and forced marriages will turn to the intellectual and political establishments of our day and ask why they did not protect them.’

Does Gabriel seriously think that our society will be able to maintain that it has acquitted itself well? Multiculturalism has become an excuse to ignore the suffering of others. If you can’t see that, the world has passed you by.

One man who will be able to parade his record with pride is Tom Chivers of the Telegraph. He was understandably stung that I had included him in my list of phonies, when he had written against religious oppression many times. Generously he said he would accept a pint as an apology. I am ashamed to say that I already owe him a pint. I will buy him one of course, and as a gesture of goodwill throw in a bar snack of his choice as well.

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Show comments
  • Stephen Milroy

    Sorry my laptop gave out , let me continue. Bulwark against the Mohammedian horde in the UK. If the islamification of the UK will come from anything it will come from mass immigration from the colonies coupled with the failure to defend Britain’s Christian tradition

  • Stephen Milroy

    It is rather rich for Nick Cohen to deride the Islamification of the UK (rightly so) and then to deride in the Grauniad the church of England’s place in the house of lords (and the C of E is just about the only proper bulwark we have again

  • Michael Stonnell

    A mature and thoughtful explanation of why you wrote what you wrote. Unlike Owen Jones who is an immature reactionary who rarely if ever explains why he writes at all.

  • Christian

    So mcarthyism was persecution of people because of their beliefs? Hmmm, sounds a lot like political correctness and feminism. Threatening people with imprisonment and loss of employment because of their words and thoughts.

  • Chaotopia

    “Does Gabriel seriously think that our society will be able to maintain
    that it has acquitted itself well? Multiculturalism has become an excuse
    to ignore the suffering of others. If you can’t see that, the world has
    passed you by.”

    And this is the fundamental point that goes flying very high above political pygmies like Owen Jones, Glenn Greenwald, Madeline Bunting, Andrew Brown, etc, etc, etc – namely, when has cultural sensitivity ever been excuse for moral blindness?

    Why is the need to be inclusive allowed to repeatedly trump doing the right thing?

    Owen Jones is little more than a middle-class, pea-brained rent-a-gob and his silence regarding Nahla Mahmoud clearly demonstrates to all what an ethical vacuum he really is.

  • Chairman_mao

    ‘One day there will be a reckoning. One day, thousands who have suffered genital mutilation, religious threats and forced marriages will turn to the intellectual and political establishments of our day and ask why they did not protect them.’

    Let me be honest: if they are not cousins of mine, if we don’t have a common ancestor at some point in the last two thousand years, then I really don’t give a monkey’s.

  • slammer06

    Atheism is just as wrong-headed as belief in a God. Since neither can be proved, both require a similarly strong spiritual faith. Thus Richard Dawkins, while a brilliant scientist is as wrong-headed as the Pope, who is at least able to excuse himself as being the head of a branch of a religion. What can be argued against with vehemence, should you so wish, are the structured religions which are built on the rickety foundations of a spiritual faith. If you do not wish to be a member of one of these religions, the logical way to go is agnosticism. For agnostics, the existence or non-existence of a God is irrelevant.
    Religion was important to our evolutionary forebears as a way of making sense of the world. I sometimes find it hard to make sense of the world we are in, but calling on a being whose existence is, to me, unlikely, sadly no longer helps.

    • Chairman_mao

      Sweaty B llocks. The scientific method says that anything which cannot be proven and repeated in experiment does not exist. The scientific method works quite well and has a very large body of evidence to support it; the religious method on the other hand says that it I am very important and I dream up something or other then it must be true. Dawkins is asserting the Scientific method, Agnostics are just ducking the question.

      • slammer06

        Not the case, I fear. Science is based on inductive logic. What is inductive in saying that god does not exist?>

        • Chairman_mao

          I say Giant Lizards run the world, prove that the world is not run by giant Lizards if you can.

          It is of course impossible to prove that something does not exist: which is why we say that something without a single shred of evidence to support it – does not exist.

    • Steve

      You have obviously never read or listened to a word of Dawkins. He goes out of his way to say that he is not an atheist as it is impossible to ‘prove’ the non-existence of a god. He actually says that he just believes the existence of a god to be so implausible that it can be reasonably discounted.

      Here is Hitchens explaining both this and why agnosticism is not a better option but actually ‘morally creepy’

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO5l2TvBKBY

  • Richard Sanderson

    Bravo, Nick.

  • Newsfox

    If Owen Jones is guilty of anything, it’s of over zealous political correctness. Bizarre.

  • Badjumbly

    Nick Cohen is, like, completely goin’ around saying that Owen Jones was jus’ talking rubbish when he said that Nick Cohen was talking rubbish when he said that Owen Jones was talking rubbish when he said that Richard Dawkins was talking rubbish when he said that Muslims are rubbish at science which they aren’t all anyway because I knew this Muslim kid at school an’ he got three science ‘A’ levels an’ anyway shut up ’cause it’s not even true!

  • Benjamin O’Donnell

    I think this debate comes down to whether you unequivocally agree with this proposition: People can and should be judged on the content of their beliefs.

    As Sam Harris has noted, if someone expresses an empirically unfounded belief – that Elivs is alive, or that 9/11 was an “inside job”, or that NASA faked the moon landings, or that Obama was born in Kenya, etc – in a public forum or at a job interview or on a first date, they immediately pay a price. They pay a price in ill-concealed laughter. Business cards are deposited in rubbish bins. Calls are not returned. Jobs are not offered. Second dates are not arranged. We don’t persecute 9/11 “truthers”, et al; we just ignore and avoid them. This is as it should be.

    So, why should we give a free pass to empirically unfounded ideas just because they are religious in nature? Why should a journalist’s belief that Mohammed rose into heaven on a winged horse be immune from the sort of judgment we would pass on the same journalist if he claimed to believe Obama is a secret Kenyan Muslim, or that on 16 August 1977 Elvis left Graceland for Australia on a flying Harley Davidson?

    • itbeso

      I think I give some Muslims a free pass because they are born into something that they cannot easily get out of .

      • Benjamin O’Donnell

        That’s a fair point for Muslims in Islamic countries where the penalty for apostasy is death, or even for Muslims in deeply religious communities in the West who don’t have the resources to survive without community support. But a well known BBC journalist? No.

        • itbeso

          That is why I said some.

    • Chairman_mao

      Elvis isn’t dead: he just went home

      • Benjamin O’Donnell

        Too right, slick. Now where’s my Noisy Cricket? 😉

  • george

    Um, it wasn’t just political beliefs, it was political activism. Ever heard of Communism and the Cold War, Mr Cohen? Communism in one century killed (and enslaved) more people than any religion, ideology, or mass delusion in the history of the world. McCarthy was fighting the spread of Communism — its lies and its agents — in America. You may think he went too far, but I would rather that he went too far than that we lost our freedom to that horror.

    • lucillalin

      Thanks for this, I was afraid nobody would point this out. American communists indeed got their orders straight from Soviet Union during the Cold War. They were working for a foreign totalitarian dictatorship.

      I respect Americans for fighting that. At the same time it was illegal in my country to criticize the Soviet Union. Those were the days…

      • george

        Wow — thank YOU, Lucillalin.

      • Chairman_mao

        The Marxists have not disappeared: they changed their name to become the Green Party.

        Except for the naive marxists: they became the Liberal Democrats.

        The Communists, on the other hand, have always been represented in Britain by the Labour Party, and they haven’t changed one single bit.

  • george

    Don’t agree that ‘militant’ must equal ‘murderous’. I also think that vehement or (sometimes) militant atheists don’t just want to ‘argue against’ religion. They want it to have no public influence, no voice or presence outside of strictly private environments. And this is allied very much with the Leftist agenda. As Jonah Goldberg as always so accurately put it, ‘progressives’ (left-liberals) like freedom so long as it only means the freedom to be progressive. In fact, progressivism is how they define freedom. He goes on to point out that ‘right-wing’ very often means nothing more than ‘non-compliant’ with the progressive/left-liberal agenda or (ironically) their idea of ‘freedom’. In so far as Christians are not compliant with every last thing that progressives believe, they are a targeted group for harassment, misrepresentation, and active well-funded political and legal opposition. I say this as an atheist, FYI.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Well, I think atheists want theistic arguments “out of the public [debate]” the same way economic liberals/conservatives want Communist ideas like the nationalisation of the means of production “out of the public debate”: We want them so discredited that people will hesitate to articulate them for fear of embarrassment. That’s perfectly fine, it’s how public discourse works – some ideas get so battered by criticism that they fall out of the “Overton Window”.

      • george

        The difference, Benjamin, is that the Judaeo-Christian religious heritage is important to our embrace of the Enlightenment, which is already slipping from our grasp. Morality, in its particular character, does have to come from a particular somewhere. The endurance of The West is at stake.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          While there is no doubt that Christianity is an important part of our Western heritage, I think it is an obsolete part – worthy of study in museums and history classes, but no more worthy of current practice than the Eleusinian Mysteries.

          As for modern liberal morality, Christianity did yoman’s work in preserving and more widely propagating part of it’s fountainhead through the post-Roman period. But it has to be remembered that Christianity didn’t invent it – most of it was previously developed by the Stoics, the Epicureans and even the Buddhists, who Christians philosophers then plagiarised shamelessly.

          • george

            Not to mention Plato and Plato’s Socrates. But most people, I think, need some sort of religion — need its rudder to keep morally oriented. Buddhism won’t give them the direction they need (in fact the more I know (of what little I know) about Buddhism the less it makes sense to me as the basis of a morality!).

            • george

              In reply to Benjamin, whose reply to me was unfortunately (and unjustly) spiked:

              Yes, I mean institutions, but I also mean the moral teachings that inform and give meaning to those institutions. Morality is about content — ideas, really — rather than forms. The forms follow and are secondary.

              The trouble with Buddhism, to my mind, is that it allows no friend-foe, mine-other distinction. This is at odds with reality, and therefore is at bottom irrational — and dangerous.

              • Benjamin O’Donnell

                First, out of curiosity, how did you know my reply was spiked? Second, do you know why? And third, thank you for saying that the spiking was unjust, I appreciate it.

                • george

                  Hi, B. There was a line that appeared, saying your comment was awaiting moderation or some such. That means it won’t be showing henceforth. I was also informed that I was not allowed to reply to an ‘inactive’ comment (i.e. by using the Reply button).

                • Benjamin O’Donnell

                  Ah, that would explain it. H-E-double hockeysticks was also included in another comment of mine that went into moderation…

  • last_brit_standing

    Atheism is a religion too; it is a belief system which has to do with religion. Like other religions, it can be extreme and militate against conflicting beliefs. Like other religions, its followers can co-exist peacefully with other people. Why is this so complicated for people to understand? Why do people like Richard Dawkins attempt to blame ‘religion’ as an entity, when to hold followers of one belief vicariously responsible for the deeds of those following another belief is so patently unjust?

    I really do despair of religious debates sometimes. As you say in the first paragraph, they’re a good space filler. There’s so much ignorance on all sides that people increase the quantity to make up the lack of quality.

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      Atheism is a form of religion the way anti-Communism is a form of Communism, or anti-racism is a form of racism, or “off” is a TV channel.

      • last_brit_standing

        Anti-racism is a form of racism? Yes, very apt comparison, actually. I’ve seldom seen anyone as racist as those who claim to be anti-racist.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          [Backs away slowly, smiling and surreptitiously looking around for a policeman.]

  • Rockin Ron

    Well done Cohen and Dawkins for taking on believers in God. After all, what
    did those idiots Da Vinci, Socrates, Einsten, Planck, Kelvin, Mendel,
    Faraday, Boyle, Newton, Pascal, Descartes, Galileo, Kepler, Bacon,
    Copernicus, Voltaire, Shakespeare, Fleming, Pasteur, Mozart, Babbage,
    Priestly, et al who claimed to believe in God, ever contribute to the
    world?
    Obviously, Cohen, Dawkins, and other atheists are much cleverer than those thickos.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

      Einstein never claimed to believe in God. And you’d be advised to check why Socrates received his death sentence. I don’t know about the others.

    • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

      Well, in those days, God was quite a good way for explaining a number of marvellous things that seemed impossible to explain using what they knew about Nature.

      In fact, without some kind of God, it must have been impossible to figure out how things came to be the way they were.

      Now, however, the situation is different.

      • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

        Actually, Dawkins’ book The Selfish Gene was a work of genius, in my view.

        • Benjamin O’Donnell

          An odd achievement – a popular science book that actually influenced working scientists. As Bill Hamilton said when Dawkins claimed that all he was doing in the Selfish Gene was to explain Hamilton’s ideas to the masses (O paraphrase from emory) “If these are my ideas, you’ve noticed implications of them that I never thought of…”

    • Benjamin O’Donnell

      For most of those figures, revealing oneself to be an atheist would have been tantamount to suicide…

    • itbeso

      Well you see Christianity in olden days was a bit like Islam is today. You speak out against it you suffer. There really wasn’t a lot of choice.

  • Cumberland

    A distinction should be made between fundamentalists and ordinary muslims, really, they all sign the same contract, the fact most don’t abide by many of the clauses doesn’t release them of their collective responsibility when others do.

  • S&A

    My only criticism of your original piece, Nick, is that you had a pop at Craig Brown’s satirical tweets in ‘Private Eye’. Brown’s send-up of Dawkins is one of many he’s done on a variety of public figures, and there is no harm done in mockery. Otherwise you were spot on, particularly about that contemptible lightweight Owen Jones.

  • Fergus Pickering

    You waste your time trying to find anything nice in Owen Jones. He is a posturing c*nt and that’s all.

  • Fasdunkle

    The OIC have been pushing for years for criticism of islam to be criminalised – they have said criticism of islam or not allowing muslims to do what they like wherever they like is racist. Many lefty idiots seem to agree with them. The OIC, of course, are one of the most hypocritical organisations on earth – I can see why leftys would find some common ground with them

    • SarahAB

      I’ve written more than one post criticising the OIC – and the more comments I read here the more kindly disposed I feel towards Owen Jones.

  • Oliver

    People like Owen Jones & Alex Gabriel only pay lip service to opposing Muslim extremists when they are forced to in the cut & thrust of debate, but they are slaves to identity politics which forbids criticism of minorities.

    For them the EDL supporter represents the worst of what we are, they are our baggage and require staunch opposition. We must apologise and soul search for reasons why our culture spawns such racism.

    But for them to criticise Muslim extremism is to blame a blameless community for a tiny unrepresentative minority of loons who have absolutely nothing to do with the great, peaceful faith of Islam.

    For them a white EDL supporter calling someone a Paki is infinitely worse than a Muslim suicide bomber because the white racist is a member of a privileged oppressor group and the Muslim suicide bomber is a member of an oppressed minority, no doubt reacting to the white racism of EDL members & oppressive Western foreign policy.

    You will never get them to admit any of this but it is plain to see from their selective outrage

    • Icebow

      Well said, Sir.

      • Oliver

        Thank you kindly although Nick skewers Owen with more panache and it seems I was wrong about Alex Gabriel considering SarahAB’s post. Although he is very much a part of the Free From Thought Blogs in group & he is supporting his fellow FTB blogger Maryam Namazie in his article. He doesn’t like it when other people make those criticisms though

        • Icebow

          I refer my honourable friend to my post in reply to David Lindsay below.

    • Knives_and_Faux

      It speaks volumes that the only nationality one cannot abbreviate (under threat of arrest) is that of Pakistan. Obviously immigrants from there are so ashamed of their heritage they don’t like to be reminded. The results of first cousins marrying are plain for all to see in the congenital deformity rates in pediatric wings.

      • Oliver

        Is there a problem with rural poor from Pakistan marrying cousins? Yes.
        Is it political correctness gone mad to oppose the kind of person who likes to call people from the subcontinent Pakis?
        No.

        If you like to use the term Paki you are either ignorant of the history of the term or you are a racist troglodyte.

        Whilst I don’t think anyone should go to jail for using the term, I certainly have no respect for anyone who chooses to use it once they know the history and pejorative overtones of the word.

        • Knives_and_Faux

          The owner of my closest corner shop refers to himself as the ‘paki shop’, he is an immigrant from Pakistan. He is proud to be so and reclaims the word. Any pejorative overtones or shame are entirely down to a culture of victim-hood that the likes of yourself swallow hook line and sinker denouncing people as racists. Still I guess it makes you all warm and fuzzy knowing you are ‘protecting the vunerable’.

  • Ben Kelly

    Alex Gabriel is a very modestly talented smug nobody with nothing interesting to say.

    • Ben Kelly

      Also a terrible debater and poor writer.

  • NBeale

    Under Blair certain forms of criticism of Islam became a criminal offence – and people need to be cautious about what they say in any permanent form. Dawkins however is so absurd that it is really easy to attack him. Laughably his twitter followers have just voted him “The world’s top Public Intellectual” in an online poll for Prospect. Pity Kim Kardashian wasn’t on the list!

  • Owen Jones

    I responded to Nick Cohen’s absurd piece here: http://owenjonesramblings.tumblr.com/post/59475329819/the-smears-of-nick-cohen

    Just so you all know: Cohen signed the petition he damns me for not signing it (having not been aware of it) – wait for it – yesterday, despite being tweeted about it weeks ago.

    • itbeso

      Can you just stop all the childish in fighting and write something useful for a change? For example how are we going to tackle sharia councils, forced marriage, anti- semitism, homophobia and FGM in the muslim community; giving them and others the protection they deserve in this country?

      • SarahAB

        One way is by supporting liberal (and indeed liberalish) Muslims who are trying to make a difference – from the really forthright ones like Lejla Kuric, to more (?)orthodox voices such as Mehdi Hasan’s. And yes I have seen that clip, but he has also spoken out against punishments for blasphemy and apostasy. A related way is to reflect carefully about the *way* we criticise these issues – and this does NOT mean pulling punches.

        • itbeso

          We don’t really have many problem with Blasphemy and Apostasy in the UK now do we Sarah? He doesn’t speak out about what matters. Supporting Medhi is positive action? Don’t make me laugh. We can speak for ourselves it is idioucy to think we need the likes of Medhi to do it for us – i.e UK citizens in general. And stop being such a tone troll – again it is not the issue.

          • SarahAB

            But he has also spoken out against antisemitism amongst UK Muslims. It was quite a bold piece – you may not be aware but he has come in for quite a bit of criticism from more conservative Muslim voices – he’s being cast as a native informant by some. And we do have problems with regard to blasphemy and apostasy, albeit more muted ones – ask CEMB Forum. Fiyaz Mughal is another example of a moderate voice to be supported. Here

            https://twitter.com/TellMamaUK/status/372111993903144960

            Fiyaz Mughal’s Tell MAMA and Mohammed Amin respond in a friendly way to Lejla’s forthright piece – it’s positions like this which mean that Fiyaz Mughal gets slammed by some Muslims, but then he also gets attacked by the centre right Islamosceptic brigade who really could find better targets, including all those things you mention in the comment I initially responded to here.

    • Mr Grumpy

      So, Owen, the guy who tried to tell you about the petition is someone you’ve turned a deaf ear to because he’s an ” ex-Trotskyist-turned-Brendan-O’Neill-style-contrarian” (boo, hiss).
      Whereas none your legions of adoring fans thought you’d be interested in Nahla Mahmoud, apparently.
      Interesting.

      • Icebow

        ‘Cohen signed the petition he damns me for not signing it…’. Hmm….

    • sarahsmith232

      you write about ‘anti Muslim hatred’ needing to be ‘taken on’. prob’ not right. if there is a group in society that is responsible for causing problems then they should be attacked and shamed. the daftness that so many first gen’ Muslims spout deserves to be taken apart. the more they’re idiocy is exposed for the ignorant, chauvinistic, misogynistic, macho, illiberal backward dumbness it is, the faster those views can be stamped out.
      why is it ok to go after white males that hold these views but Islamophobic when it’s non-whites. no sense there. there are some vile, disgusting attitudes that have been imported en-masses via immigration, they need to be stamped out. simple as that. attacking them is not an e.g of racism, it’s an e.g of a decent, educated, liberal society going after the ignorant. they happen to be non-white, so what.

      • Petra Thompson

        ” the daftness that so many first gen’ Muslims spout deserves to be taken apart. ”

        Surveys show that it is the younger generation of muslims who are the most fundamentalist in Britain. Even when it comes to the issue of criminalising homosexuals (whether that means incarceration or extermination is unclear), it is the younger, 2nd and 3rd generation muslims in Britain who are the most savage.

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6309983.stm

    • andagain

      Cohen signed the petition he damns me for not signing

      What is your objection to signing this petition? Why do you think people shout not sign it?

      • SarahAB

        He never said that, and he has signed it. I agree he doesn’t speak out about such matters in the way Alex Gabriel does, but some of the criticisms here are unfair.

  • sarahsmith232

    Owen Jones is your dead typical, unconnected to the real world, idealistic kiddie Leftie. he writes about defending the put upon minority Muslims from the ignorant, barbarian hordes in exactly the way you’d expect from a kiddie. it’s so dead simple, so black and white, literally. the whites are the cruel, uneducated baddies and the non-white is the easy to understand, blameless victim. that’s it in his mind.
    it isn/’t possible for mass immigration from the Islamic 3rd world to any way shape or form contribute negatively to society because they are not white. that’s it. that’s the extent of his logic. thus, any criticism of it can not be seen as legitimate and is only Islamophobia.
    love his justification – history has always been on the side of the minority. history has always proved that hostility has always been unjustified, has no basic and has always only ever been the product of an ignorant, uneducated mind.
    or, the BBC and other upper mid’-class gate keepers have spent decades re-writing history to justify their elitist, class snob hatred on the Work’-Class once their preferred victim group of choice came along. .

  • itbeso

    “Communist regimes were militantly atheist”

    Bollocks – they were militantly communist.

  • blindsticks

    Now that he is playing the victim, I find that I do need to educate him. McCarthyism was a movement led by the American Congress in the 1950s that forced thousands of people out of their jobs for their political beliefs.

    Thank god we don’t do things like that anymore.

    Thought police muscle up in Britain | The Australian

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/…muscle-up-in…/story-e6frg6zo-12257003639...

    21 Apr 2009 – BRITAIN appears to be evolving into the first modern soft totalitarian state. As a sometime … Thought police muscle up in Britain. by: Hal G. P. …

    There have been innumerable cases in recent months of people in schools, hospitals and other institutions losing their jobs because of various religious scruples, often, as in the East Germany of yore, not shouted fanatically from the rooftops but betrayed in private conversations and reported to authorities. The crime of one nurse was to offer to pray for a patient, who did not complain but merely mentioned the matter to another nurse. A primary school receptionist, Jennie Cain, whose five-year-old daughter was told off for talking about Jesus in class, faces the sack for seeking support from her church. A private email from her to other members of the church asking for prayers fell into the hands of school authorities.

    Permissiveness as well as draconianism can be deployed to destroy socially accepted norms and values. The Royal Navy, for instance, has installed a satanist chapel in a warship to accommodate the proclivities of a satanist crew member. “What would Nelson have said?” is a British newspaper cliche about navy scandals, but in this case seems a legitimate question. Satanist paraphernalia is also supplied to prison inmates who need it.

    This campaign seems to come from unelected or quasi-governmental bodies controlling various institutions, which are more or less unanswerable to electors, more than it does directly from the Government, although the Government helps drive it and condones it in a fudged and deniable manner.

    Any one of these incidents might be dismissed as an aberration, but taken together – and I have only mentioned a tiny sample; more are reported almost every day – they add up to a pretty clear picture.

    Hal G. P. Colebatch’s Blair’s Britain was chosen as a book of the year by The Spectator in 1999

  • Petra Thompson

    “One day there will be a reckoning. One day, thousands who have suffered
    genital mutilation, religious threats and forced marriages will turn to
    the intellectual and political establishments of our day and ask why
    they did not protect them.”

    That day has come.

    Last year on Newsnight, a group of young Somali women attacked our government’s “Liberal”, “Democratic”, female, “Equalities Minister”, and said it was racism that has led to there being not one conviction in the 25 years since FGM has been explicitly illegal in Britain. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r91_VGYiysc

    Notably, the only two people (on an almost entirely female stage) who thought that Britain was coping admirably by doing nothing to protect the 100,000 victims of FGM were 1) a Somali man and 2) the laughable Equalities Minister

    • ThePrussian

      HAH! Link please! I’d love to see that

      • Petra Thompson

        Er… if you meant the Newsnight link, it is in my post.

        • ThePrussian

          Saw it afterwards – for some reason, at first the youtube link didn’t show up. Swiped it for my blog 🙂

    • blindsticks

      Not racism – anti racism. Or, as Rod Liddle puts it -‘The racism of the respectable’.

    • Colicub

      Erm, I would count the millions of boys circumcised due to Islamic or Jewish tradition as also having suffered genital mutilation.

  • ThePrussian

    Very well done.

  • stefe1er

    Nick – your name isn’t on the petition you link to. Which means you hadn’t signed it before the 18th August.

    Bloodworth tweeted you the link – specifically to you – on the 2nd August.

    How’s that for a ‘record to parade with pride’?

    • stefe1er

      Turns out Nick signed the petition on the 26th August – the day this article was published, and Owen signed up 23 hours later.

  • TRAV1S

    “By
    extension, he would also oppose reactionary Judaism, Christianity and
    Hinduism. All far rights were the same in his eyes”

    Ah the use of the word “reactionary”, exactly the same word Stalin used to describe critics of communism, just before he had them shot in the back of the neck.

  • Wes G

    If north korea has a supreme leader, then in what way is it atheist? or is it the loose interpretation of communism that eludes your logic?

    Those states you mentions were and are totalitarian, militaristic and brutal before they can be labeled atheist. And whats more, are the result of different thinking in different times.

    As for ‘militant atheism’ is it not perpetuated by the religious in order to militarize language and narratives associated with none belief and none believers.

    just my opinion

  • stefe1er

    isn’t there a basic factual error here? You claim that ‘no other reporter’ had ever mentioned Nahla Mahmoud (let’s leave aside the fact that you are not a reporter at all Nick) yet go on to mention James Bloodworth who had written about her several times prior to you.

    And the other fact is that you didn’t actually write about her as a result of the merits of her case – you only mentioned her because someone else hadn’t.

    What I find really distasteful about this article and the one before it is Nick using Mahmoud purely as a stick to beat his opponent with. It makes his support look totally insincere, even if it isn’t.

    That’s before we get to the other problem with Cohen’s ‘why don’t you support’ game (and it really is just a game for him). For a long time he was berating everyone else for failing to listen to Hassan Butt, only for it to emerge that Butt was a serial fabricator who was making money out of telling gullible writers like Cohen what they wanted to hear. Cohen has never once acknowledged his total lack of judgment in that case. Ditto his praise for Ahmed Chalabi, which was ultra- loud in the urn-up to the Iraq war – then suddenly all was silent on that front.

    • Mr Grumpy

      You’re suggesting Nahla Mahmoud is lying? Evidence, please?

      • stefe1er

        I’m not suggesting she’s lying at all.

        I’m suggesting that Nick has a track record of choosing causes that turn out to be bogus, and as such he should not lecture others for failing to support x, y, or z campaign.

        especially since it turns out Nick Cohen signed this petition on the 26th August – 24 days after he was first alerted to it.

        • Mr Grumpy

          Just a routine bit of irrelevant whataboutery then. So you believe her story, you’re appalled by it and you’ve signed the petition that you know so much about?

          • stefe1er

            yup

            • Mr Grumpy

              Me too. So we’re all on the same side. Even if Owen Jones couldn’t quite bring himself to offer a message of support when he signed.

              • stefe1er

                But I don’t think Nick IS on the same side. He signed this petition purely so he could use it as a stick to beat Owen Jones with. He supports Dawkins’s outright anti-Muslim prejudice in all its forms.

                • Mr Grumpy

                  Well, I don’t claim to be able to open windows into Nick Cohen’s soul. But if you’re right he must be hoping that Mr
                  Salah Al Bander will continue to have plenty to say for himself.

  • redmenis

    I asked Owen Jones about his own straw man arguments in his article on twitter. Politely. No reply.

  • http://therealuntrusted.wordpress.com/ Bitethehand

    Owen Jones betrays women of all races and religions across the world and shouts at them “remain subservient”.

    • Icebow

      The central problem is how to prevent such a hopeless case from enabling potential hopeless cases from realizing their potential. The BBC has more and more to answer for, week by week.

  • monkey for sale

    I see that Baroness Warsi is attempting , yet again, to exploit the death of Lee
    Rigby to bang the drum for Islamophobia .

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/muslim-soldiers-to-visit-schools-to-try-to-counter-islamophobia-8784494.html

    Unelected Warsi is hailed as a liberal muslim. She, and people like
    her, will never be the solution when it comes to addressing the problem
    with Islam:the failure to deal with Islamic intolerance, violence and a
    victim mentality.

    • sarahsmith232

      I’ve read that the first time she tried to become an MP she stood on an aggressively illiberal and homophobic platform in a predominantly Muslim area. once that mind set became an inconvenient liability she seemingly saw the more liberal light and ditched the Islamic ignorance. about a month ago she was bragging, this was well after the Tell Mama org’ was exposed as nothing more than a separatist band of English hating, professional victims, hysterics and truth ‘stretchers’, that they’d set this org’ up.
      whatever sells, that’s her game. no wonder she came to prominence during Cameron’s time leading the party.

      • monkey for sale

        Muslims like her must be laughing up their sleeve at the stupid kaffir who now need people like her as a sop to the community-cohesion lobby .
        Mainstream political party would like to offer an exciting position for a muslim. You don’t need to do much, but we will wheel you out occasionally to tell us how Islamophobic we are. Bobble and a racist shield ( this shield will protect you against any criticism) come with the job.

        • sarahsmith232

          hilarious, spot on. it’s supposed to be the case that in the House of Lords she refuses to associate with anyone that isn’t a muslim. but, ‘course, there aren’t that many of them, so rather than speak to her fellow Tories she’s friends with Labour Muslim’s instead. unbelievable really, no matter where they end up they separate themselves and form hostile gangs

          • monkey for sale

            As we have seen in Tower Hamlets, when they feel that they can go it alone, they do.

            Former Labour member Lutfur Rahman is a Bangladeshi born muslim in in charge of a huge budget – £1 billion .

          • crosscop

            Not surprising. The Koran repeatedly forbids Muslims from having non-Muslim friends – on pain of hellfire. They are allowed to pretend they are our friends, though.

    • itbeso

      She’s another useful idiot along with Baby Jones.

      • monkey for sale

        Baby Jones is a hardcore dhimmi, the Baroness is a self serving muslim.

  • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

    “Multiculturalism has become an excuse to ignore the suffering of others. If you can’t see that, the world has passed you by.”

    Interesting parallel perhaps …

    “Feminism has become an excuse to ignore the suffering of men. If you can’t see that, the world has passed you by.”

    • Sue Ward

      I must say I find it quite hilarious the number of men on the Coffee House who complain about our society’s victim culture (something which I too deplore). Yet you only have to mention ‘women’ and it seems they can’t clamber on that old victim bandwagon quick enough.

      • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

        You have a point.

        But we do live in a victim culture. And so it needs to be pointed out that men are victims too.

        In fact, when it comes to being victims of most things – including violence – it is men, not women, who make up the greater number.

        Clearly, you would like to stop people like me from pointing this out.

        • Sue Ward

          Wrong. I am happy for you to point out anything you like. And although I don’t consider myself a victim of anything (other than my own occasional poor choices!) if it comes down to a display of “my victimhood’s bigger than yours”, men, in any society, are unlikely to win.

          • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

            “unlikely to win”

            Unlikely to win what?

            • Sue Ward

              A willy waving contest about which gender historically has been the most victimised. After thousands of years of patriarchy, men can hardly claim to be the biggest victims. Not sure I understand why everyone wants to be in a victim group these days but it seems you are keen to join one. For the record, I am not remotely anti men and I make no special pleading as a woman, I just think you should stop crying into your beer about the non existent slings an arrows you think the modern age is throwing at your gender.

  • JohnDale49

    Idiotic article. Dawkins does want religion criminalized. He has said he thinks religious families should have their children taken away. You and him are anti-freedom leftist scum

    • RBH

      Citation required.

    • Bender

      Idiotic comment. Dawkins doesn’t want religion criminalized. Freedom includes the right to point out your religion is false and stupid, you rightist scum.

      • Thor fenris

        Hang on I’m rightist scum and I support Dawkins wholeheartedly

    • JabbaTheCat

      “He has said he thinks religious families should have their children taken away.”

      Could you please point me to where Dawkins actually said this…

      • gladiolys

        In “The God Delusion”, he argues that religious indoctrination at a young age is a form of child abuse. I’m not sure that he argues for such children to be taken into care, but logically, it is only a small step away.

        • JabbaTheCat

          So that’s a fail for you then?

          • gladiolys

            What do you mean? I can see the argument, but don’t agree with it.

            • JabbaTheCat

              You have failed to show where “[Dawkins] has said he thinks religious families should have their children taken away.”…

              • gladiolys

                You are a very strange feline. I never made the assertion in the first place. I was trying to show how Mr Dale may have (possibly erroneously) come to believe that.

                • JabbaTheCat

                  Then you should have answered Mr Dale by pressing the reply tab beneath his posting and not replying to mine…

                • gladiolys

                  You asked the bloody question. You are thick and obnoxious. Please p*ss off, you fat bustard.

                • JabbaTheCat

                  “You asked the bloody question.”

                  Indeed I did, and you have consistently failed to show where “[Dawkins] has said he thinks religious families should have their children taken away.”…

                • gladiolys

                  Moron.

                • JabbaTheCat

                  “Moron.”

                  Congratulations, you have reached the bottom level of the hierarchy of disagreement…

                  http://tinyurl.com/ke7fzdh

        • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

          You are correct. I’m a huge fan of Dawkins but, yes, he did say that religious indoctrination is a form of child abuse.

          But, then again, everything that the Left disapproves of is said by them to be “abuse” of some sort or other.

          The idea is to demonise their opponents.

  • David Lindsay

    Owen Jones is a lot younger than you.

    He is on the telly a lot more than you are.

    He is invited to address, for example, hundreds of thousands of people at the Durham Miners’ Gala and then have many of them queue for his autograph and to be photographed with him, as if he were a rock star. None of that is something which you, who supported the Iraq War, can ever expect to your dying day.

    He is the star speaker at packed anti-cuts meetings around the country every week; again, you burned your bridges to the people now organising those, or even attending them, a decade ago, when you lined up with Bush and Blair.

    Get over it.

    • thermalCat

      artful trolling, sir. Bravo.

    • JabbaTheCat

      That’s all very nice for OJ, but you have failed to refute NC’s point that OJ is a hypocrite.

    • TenPillocksInARoom

      Sure, Nick Cohen’s entire philosophy is grounded on envy that Owen Jones has a shiny face and tells a certain type of person what they want to hear.

      Incidentally, Muslims are dying at a more rapid rate in Syria (non-intervention) than in Iraq (intervention), suggesting that Middle Eastern populations might actually be better off with American boots on the ground. Don’t wish to push this argument, but perhaps on the 10th anniversary of Iraq it’s a good time to give the old cliches a well-deserved rest.

      Which translates in this case to hearing Cohen on his merits. If you please.

      • Mr Grumpy

        Don’t waste your time on Lindsay, you’ll only succeed in convincing him that you’re working for the neoconschachtmanitezionistmossadpeoplecalledcohen global conspiracy.

        • TenPillocksInARoom

          Point taken. Anyway, wrong conspiracy. Crap, I’ve just given the game away …

      • sarahsmith232

        i’m sorry, but this is such blatant clap-trap. what on earth are you talking about? Mid’ East pop’s are better off w/ U.S boots on the ground, the evidence for this being that at this moment more are dying in Syria. that is an embarrassingly daft statement if there ever was one.
        power vacuums will create a violent mess. remove the state power structures of the police/military and people see that decades long grievances can be resolved with guns, with nothing and no one to stop them.
        to say that the U.S DIDN’T???? create that in Iraq is bizarre.

        • TenPillocksInARoom

          Alright, my point is that Iraq arguments are now wearing a little thin. We all accepted that all of the ills of the world were our fault back then, but now whatever we do, lots of people die and the Christians get it in the neck. We still get blamed by Islamists and Western Islamophiles, but this is contradicted by the evidence that the killing and the anti-Christian pogroms happen whatever we do. Probably we just don’t have the level of power in the Middle East that we once had, that we still like to think we have and that the Islamists complain that we have. Dragging up 2003 as a reason not to listen to Cohen is just totally irrelevant.

          Of course my comment on Western intervention was tongue-in-cheek, but I am not prepared to believe any more that everything is automatically our own fault. Using Al Qaeda’s chemical bomb as a pretext to join a Syrian war on Al Qaeda’s side would clearly be a mistake, and I am hoping against all hope that Hague and Kerry do not take the bait …

          • sarahsmith232

            agreed. have you seen the way their new fav’ attack is that we’re too blame ’cause we DON’T constantly behave like an old world, imperial power and remove responsibility for the Islamic world from the Muslims by immediately ‘intervening’ at the first sign of bother. ’cause we don’t see Islamic countries as special cases and jump straight in at the first sign of any trouble, sending in the ground troops etc the first gen’ lot are all jumping up and down. they blame us for not jumping straight in with Yugoslavia, they’re blaming us for the mess in Syria ’cause we didn’t jump straight in.
            ‘course, nevertheless, if we had of done, we’d have not heard the last of the ‘you all are still behaving like your an Empire’ etc. sick of hearing their non-stop whining, sick of them.

      • Unomosh

        “Middle Eastern populations might actually be better off with American boots on the ground.”

        That’s a pretty fatuous argument. We know that many outside players are supporting Assad (Russia, Iran, Hizbullah) and the rebels (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UK, USA). As in the Cold War, powerful states are manipulating weaker ones and fueling conflicts for their own ends. As usual, civilians pay the price.

        • TenPillocksInARoom

          OK, but I have replied to this previously (search “tongue in cheek”)

    • Icebow

      A twit made famous in twitness, beloved by twits and betraying them by reinforcing them in the belief that they are not twits because they believe in him.

  • Daniel Maris

    On FGM, it is an absolute scandal that we haven’t had one prosecution of anyone in the Somali community for taking their back to their home country for FGM.

    • crosscop

      Funny nobody asks Mo Farah whether he’s going to have his twin daughters done. The man should actually be heading a campaign to stamp it out – here and in Somalia. Has nobody in the media got the guts to ask him about it?

      • Daniel Maris

        Correct. No one has the guts to ask him about that.

      • gladiolys

        He’s an athlete. Should we ask every athlete to comment on a cultural element relevant to their background? Wayne Rooney: how do you feel about Irish para-militaries? Kevin Pieterson: what do you think about apartheid?

        Mo has declared that he is British. How many times does he need to prove it? (I do, however, agree with your implication that it would be great if he chose to speak out against it – but he does not have a duty to.)

        But more to the point – how many young Somali girls (or even those in later life) have come forward to make a complain about FGM? Surely that is what we should be doing – educating them and encouraging them to make complaints against appropriate adults.

        • crosscop

          You are asking children to make complaints against their parents and grandparents which would result in them going to prison and the children taken into care. The kids are not going to make the complaints – especially when they believe it is demanded of them by their family, their community and their religion.
          Mo Farah is a member of a religion and barbaric culture in which FGM is the norm. Are you really saying that nobody should ask him if he is going to have this barbaric act carried out on his girls? Really? If Wayne Rooney was a member of Sinn Fein, then I think he would be expected to answer a few questions, don’t you? Likewise if Pieterson was a member of the AWB.
          BTW – If Farah is ‘British’ he has a duty not to harm his daughters in the illegal way his culture demands and his religion recommends. How will we know that he intends to do his British duty and not his Somali duty by those girls if nobody dares ask?

          • Daniel Maris

            The children would also be targets for violent revenge and would reduce their marriageability to zero.

          • gladiolys

            So what do those people on here complaining about the lack of FGM prosecutions advocate? How else will the law be enforced unless we know who has been affected and by whom?

            Re Mo Farah: he will know the law regarding this and I’d think it unlikely he do it anyway. But even if he was, do you think he’s admit his intention to break the law? Asking is a way to look rough and do nothing. Or maybe we should have genital police?

            • crosscop

              Genital police? Well, a quick medical check is all that it takes. Then the parents should be arrested and deported. The child could decide to stay or go with them. We have to make it plain that this is not acceptable in our country and that the people who follow this barbaric practice are not welcome here.

              • gladiolys

                Any parents caught should be arrested, punished, and then deported.

                FGM is cultural, not religious. Why do you think it’s more prevalent in Somali culture than, say, Saudi?

              • FrenchNewsonlin

                “people who follow this barbaric practice are not welcome here”. Indeed; and you could usefully extend that argument to the many other barbarities tolerated across Europe under PC/multikulti rules.

        • Daniel Maris

          Athletes were frequently asked about racial apartheid (quite rightly) during the era of apartheid. Why not gender apartheid which is every bit as vicious in places like Somalia .

          • Shoe On Head

            all fine and mostly agree. but gladiolys does raise an intersting point. i would also add there is nothing worse than somebody reaching a level of success. and then jumping on some cause-marketing campaign, in an effort to skewer eyeballs for big-corp.

        • Simon Baddeley

          Not having a ‘duty’ is the point. It becomes a bold and lonely choice. I agree about not asking (and yes Mo Farah has made his point point powerfully) but when an athlete has stood up for what at the time may seem a controversial principle it has had a tremendous impact. The act is remembered. John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics? Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards who refused to play for the ‘rebel’ cricket teams invited to apartheid SA? Facing Russian threats to arrest gay, and gay-friendly, Olympic athletes and guests at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, who stands up? With the wimpishness of the IOC, a stand by a famous athlete, especially one not gay (my respect to Blake Skjellerup), would be most influential – and honoured.

      • Icebow

        Who on earth voted this down, and why?

  • NedMissingTeeth

    Great artical. Thanks.

  • Ophelia Benson

    But Nick – you overstated your case in the original piece.

    “I would go further and concede that Dawkins’s critics had other arguments that weren’t wholly asinine, were it not for a telling detail. They never stick their necks out and defend real liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims who are being persecuted in Britain right now.”

    Not true. I was one such critic, for instance – I think Twitter is a terrible medium for what he was doing, and I said so, but you know very well that I do stick my neck out and defend real liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims who are being persecuted in Britain right now. The same is true of Alex Gabriel.

    • stefe1er

      indeed. But Nick won’t listen because the truth of this doesn’t fit in with his silly, eyes-closed ranting which hasn’t changed a bit in over ten years now. Glad to see you and others coming out against these hysterical pieces which demonstrate his limitations as a thinker and writer.

  • Paul Brocklehurst

    What I have noticed on more than one occasion is that whatever Dawkins says he is automatically ‘in the wrong’. – Last week he was labeled as a ‘racist’ because criticised Islam (which isn’t even a race!) OR he is accused of only attacking ‘soft’ targets i.e. Christians, rather than the more dangerous Muslim fundamentalists (also untrue – YouTube will prove this if you doubt it). So he is damned if he does criticise Islam & damned if he doesn’t!

  • SarahAB

    I would have said Alex Gabriel had also spoken up many times against religious oppression. For example

    http://www.alexgabriel.co.uk/post/16061192015/a-lead-on-the-threats-of-violence-at-queen-mary

  • SarahAB

    I would have said Alex Gabriel had also spoken up many times against religious oppression. For example

    http://www.alexgabriel.co.uk/post/16061192015/a-lead-on-the-threats-of-violence-at-queen-mary

  • TenPillocksInARoom

    “The distinction should be made between fundamentalists, who should be attacked as such, but who constitute a small minority; and the majority of Muslims, who polls show abhor violence as much as any of us do. Attack religion by all means, and passionately so; but we have to stop the fuelling of the widespread demonisation of Muslims.”

    Oh Owen, Owen, Owen, do polls include the majority for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? The one now burning churches? And I guess this comment won’t be shown, and I don’t even blame Cohen or the Spectator – they are only doing their best in a terribly distorted debate where somehow evil isn’t evil any more.

    P.S. Possibly I should take that back. I assumed that this would be premodded.

  • TenPillocksInARoom

    “The distinction should be made between fundamentalists, who should be attacked as such, but who constitute a small minority; and the majority of Muslims, who polls show abhor violence as much as any of us do. Attack religion by all means, and passionately so; but we have to stop the fuelling of the widespread demonisation of Muslims.”

    Oh Owen, Owen, Owen, do polls include the majority for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? The one now burning churches? And I guess this comment won’t be shown, and I don’t even blame Cohen or the Spectator – they are only doing their best in a terribly distorted debate where somehow evil isn’t evil any more.

    P.S. Possibly I should take that back. I assumed that this would be premodded.

    • SarahAB

      I thought some of OJ’s points were reasonable, but here he seems to conflate ‘fundamentalists’ with (violent) extremists.

      • TenPillocksInARoom

        Perhaps you are right. But perhaps we can conflate fundamentalists, extremists, violent extremists and the characters winning elections in Egypt. For there is not a great deal of doubt that it is the MB burning churches in Egypt. If this is so, Jones must be wrong, because then we should be talking about “small majorities” rather than “small minorities”, as he does. He’s clearly right to urge human (and as it happens Christian) charity towards those whom we deal with, besides which even small majorities leave up to 49% innocent people!

    • ThePrussian

      Agree very strongly with this. Has the “tiny minority of extremists” schtick really not worn out its welcome?

  • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

    Nice piece, but I just cannot resist this …

    ” McCarthyism was a movement led by the American Congress in the 1950s that forced thousands of people out of their jobs for their political beliefs. It was state-backed oppression.”

    You have just described political correctness and feminism.

    • Liz

      For example? Name a man who’s been forced out of his job by feminism.
      What you call political correctness is probably anti-discrimination isn’t it. You know, where men force women out of their jobs.

      • The Wiganer

        How about any man who fancies representing his local Labour party but can’t, because they operate all-woman short lists. Does that count?

        • pdhan

          Not really. I generally don’t like ‘positive’ discrimination but it’s hardly the same thing as state-led oppression against minorities.

          • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

            Amongst other things, feminists have succeeded in disadvantaging men when it comes to the family, the law, their health, their education, prison sentencing, employment, divorce, welfare and when it comes to any form of “relationship dispute”.

            In other words, just about everywhere.

            Sounds like “oppression” to me.

            • pdhan

              Don’t forget their success in turning real men into blubbering victims moaning on discussion boards. “oppression”, get over yourself.

              • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

                pdhan

                Shaming language doesn’t work with me.

                And I’m not blubbering.

              • Chairman_mao

                pdham: you have just proven ‘Angry Harry”s point

        • brutale1

          Unless your name is Jack Dromey

      • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

        “Name a man who’s been forced out of his job by feminism.”

        Are you kidding me?

        Ask a male senior police officer, a teacher or an academic if he could express anti-feminist views and still hold on to his job.

        • DeadlyInArms

          They can express anti-feminist views, but not anti-women views, I think you fail to see the difference…

          • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

            “They can express anti-feminist views”

            No. They can’t.

            “I think you fail to see the difference”

            And your evidence for that statement is what?

            • DeadlyInArms

              You are the one who asserted that people lose their jobs for expressing anti-feminist views. If you can cite me some basic evidence for that statement first then this discussion can be furthered…

              • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry
                • DeadlyInArms

                  Thanks for the reply

                  1) However, the example only applies to PV. Feminist views do not pertain exclusively to PV – in fact, I haven’t read any feminist piece on PV in a long time. I only really encounter those issues in advertising campaigns against domestic violence.

                  2) There are sufficient counter-examples of feminists being ridiculed beyond just a case of “having a debate” that you can’t blindly claim that PC creates more oppression than it removes. http://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2013/jun/20/why-i-started-a-feminist-society.

                • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

                  Oh Deadly Deadly Deadly, this tiny emergence of opposition to feminism into the public arena is relatively new. You have no idea just how suppressed it has been for nearly four decades.

                  Even this young man, …

                  http://toysoldier.wordpress.com/

                  … who runs a blog about male victims of sexual abuse, has had his site blocked by mobile company O2 for being allegedly “anti-feminist”.

                • DeadlyInArms

                  sorry, but you don’t know why that site was blocked. I’m not going to peruse his entire backlog of posts, but there may have been adult material, and I am fairly sure that on mobile network 18+ stuff gets censored unless you say you want it.

                  http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/the-cambridge-union-society/sexism-glasgow-university-union_b_2816940.html

                  I haven’t been alive for nearly that long, but from what I see in my peer groups etc, homophobic/ sexist / racist remarks are seen as casual banter; whilst anti-feminist remarks may in extreme cases be met with disproportionate measures by those offended, from what I’ve seen people don’t really comment on feminist issues in groups or conversations, and I haven’t heard much about people getting abused for making anti-feminist remarks, except for what you’ve said there.

                  If you said the same about sexist remarks made publicly, then they would clearly be sacked. But I would hardly call that oppression…

                • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

                  “Sorry, but you don’t know why that site was blocked.”

                  Yes, I do.

                  This short video might interest you, because it shows you what feminists have really achieved …

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrvDhSB7GHk

                • Wessex Man

                  You’ve got to admit that the crone who was joking about it, vaguely familiar? Sharon something, who had her 15 mins of fame should be locked up, but but you have to be pretty sad to trawl the net to find a childish site like that.

      • Sim Chi

        Any job or industry that employs its staff based on quota’s.

      • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

        Neil Lyndon.

      • Baron

        Baron can name a man whose career was nearly destroyed by the ‘wimin’: Roger Scruton.

      • Lucas

        right on liz

    • VermonterSteve

      Political correctness and feminism do not oppress anyone, although I will admit that to insensitive jerks and sexists they might feel like oppression.

      • Daniel Maris

        You’ve got free speech in the USA. We haven’t got that here.

        • UKSteve

          Yes, “Affirmative Action” was a disaster in the US.

      • Ben Kelly

        Tell that to people serving prison sentences for silly comments on Twitter, or the people who lose their jobs because of speaking out against certain sacred cow dogmas such as multiculturalism. Here we are talking primarily about the situation in Britain.

        • DeadlyInArms

          >>>”Silly comments”

          >>>”Go onto the streets and murder the first muslim you find” >>>”Blow up your local mosque”

          were some of the offending tweets about which you are talking. The people were charged under the Riot Act. The reason for this is because their tweets could easily have sparked riots, bearing in mind something less confrontational two years ago sparked riots across the country.

          • Ben Kelly

            You have very much narrowed the subject there. There are people that leave comments on the internet being arrested and serving longer sentences than thugs who commit violent crimes. A racist comment is clearly unpleasant but the poster should not be getting a knock on the door and face months in prison, this is now the situation in this country; on the scale of freedom in a country, Britain continues to take steps down.

            You can be arrested for writing ‘anti-muslim’ comments or anything deemed ‘racist’ or ‘grossly offensive’ it does not have to be an incitement to violence or organising criminal activity, it can simply be exercising free speech (admittedly sometimes unpleasant).

            Meanwhile up and down the country extremist Islamists are allowed to preach freely in mosques and in the street, they are allowed to organise and spread their message. Good God, they are even given air time at the tax payers expense, they are facilitated in their endevour while we lock up people for foolish online comments. Quite simply not a country based on universal law, free speech and liberty any longer.

            • Mark Cooper

              No-one got banged up for the ‘behead the enemies of Islam’ banners. In fact I don’t think anyone even got arrested.

              • Ben Kelly

                Exactly! The madness of our modern system of laws.

      • Icebow

        ‘Political correctness’ (always in quotation marks please) is indeed a form of oppression, and in cases like that of lady firemen, a mortal danger. In all cases, it amount to chronic subtle treason. It must at length be purged, so that true decency may prevail.
        Feminism? That’s women’s work.

      • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

        “Political correctness and feminism do not oppress anyone”

        Really? Let’s hope that you never get a divorce or are falsely accused of some “relationship” crime?

        Let’s hope that the police do not turn a blind eye if your daughter happens to be abused by certain ethnic groups.

        • VermonterSteve

          Give me a break. Neither of those cases is an example of political correctness or feminism. But what is oppressive is women making less money than a man doing the same job, or louts who think it is both fun and/or appropriate to make insensitive slurs. If you think feminism is oppressive, then you probably feel the same about speed limits.

          • http://www.angryharry.com/ Angry Harry

            ” Neither of those cases is an example of political correctness or feminism.”

            LOL!

            “what is oppressive is women making less money than a man doing the same job”

            That would, indeed, be wrong. Thankfully, however, it doesn’t really happen in this country – unless you fiddle the figures.

            This might interest you …

            http://www.angryharry.com/esEqualityNotAchievable.htm

            • VermonterSteve

              After reading the heading on your web site, I’ve got all the information I need.

              • Wessex Man

                You are a wise man.

    • george

      Sadly ironic, considering that the oppression Cohen claims to see was in order to defend genuine freedom against the greatest oppression of all, which is totalitarianism a. k. a. Communism. Really, the fact that it even needs saying in the 21st century….. What kind of freedom does Cohen think Communism represents? How does he propose that we should have opposed it? By asking them nicely to go away? The depth of the irrationality is truly amazing.

    • Lucas

      Don’t be a joker. Demanding equal rights for women does not force people out of their jobs. Quite the opposite

  • danum5

    What is notable about your pieces is the use of argument rather than the (inaccurate and offensive) name calling of opponents.

  • danum5

    What is notable about your pieces is the use of argument rather than the (inaccurate and offensive) name calling of opponents.

  • Simon Gardner

    Religious persecution: There isn’t nearly enough of it.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Ridicule, abuse, contempt …
      That`s what organised religion deserves, and that`s what those dog-collar vampires are going to get in spades.

    • blindsticks

      Yes, especially from cowards unable to say anything too out of line on anything else.

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