I have been honoured to receive a number of awards in my career. Yet one which I have especially yearned for has so far eluded me. Now it seems finally within my grasp.
Since I began writing I have dearly hoped to catch the eye of the judges for the ‘Islamophobe of the Year’ title. There are a number of reasons. Firstly because one of its earliest recipients was Polly Toynbee. Anything that Polly wins is something I covet.
Secondly, I have always desired the award because the term ‘Islamophobia’ itself is so fantastical and ridiculous. Winning an award with it in the title would be like waking up to discover I had been given a prize by the Queen of Wonderland.
And thirdly – perhaps indeed the main impetus – is that this award is given by the ‘Islamic Human Rights Commission’ (IHRC). This hilariously misnamed body has been a force behind many key human rights advances of recent years, such as the annual ‘Al-Quds day march’ where Hezbollah supporters and others march through the centre of London calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Anyhow, after an inexplicable hiatus, this year the awards are back and imagine my joy when it was brought to my attention that I am on the shortlist. Truth be told, my heart fluttered a little and I thought of all the many people I would like to thank at the doubtless glittering awards ceremony.
But I should probably be careful not to peak with anticipation too early. Because what a shortlist I am up against. For the UK title I find myself battling such stiff competition as the Muslim anti-extremism campaigners Maajid Nawaz and Raheem Kassam. Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is in there as well, but I wonder whether Theresa and I really stand any chance against such prominent Muslim ‘Islamophobes’.
I also fear that my dream of winning the overall prize is in jeopardy thanks to some serious international competition. After all, to win the overall ‘Islamophobe of the Year’ title I must beat such notorious zealots as the left-wing French feminist writer Caroline Fourest and the unpardonable Aung San Suu Kyi, a lady for whom there can be absolutely no excuse.
Anyhow – I hope I do win. As a Khomeinist organisation the IHRC may wish to celebrate by hanging me from a crane, as is customary in Iran. As it is, I am content with my nomination and can only keep my fingers crossed that I make their cut.
If I do win I promise to donate any cash prize to a charity of my choice. Probably the Barnabas Fund. If I lose, all I can do is promise the IHRC that I will do everything in my power to do better next year.