Earth to Melanie Phillips: The problem is not Hizb ut-Tahrir, the problem is Islam

A reader writes:

The other day I saw on tv the exchange during the Prime Minister’s Question Time that Melanie Phillips cites here, in which David Cameron tried to get Prime Minister Gordon Brown to agree to ban an organization, Hizb ut-Tahrir, that calls for killing Jews and slanders them in other ways. Brown kept saying the government needs more evidence.

What on earth happened to the hate speech idea in Britain, that people have got into trouble just saying negative things about groups. I’m not naive, I know there’s a double standard, but isn’t this rather blatant?

LA replies:

The reader is of course correct. It is a most blatant demonstation of Britain’s pro-Islamic double standard. Non-violent criticism of Islam, such as saying that it is a “wicked” religion, can get a person arrested and tried under Britain’s laws banning “incitement to racial hatred,” while Muslims’ open calls for the murder of Jews require years-long “investigations” by the government to decide what they really mean.

However, the more interesting issue I see here is that Melanie Phillips (not to mention David Cameron) seems not to realize the provenance of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s statements about Jews.

For example, she quotes Cameron in the House of Commons:

The Prime Minister said that we need evidence about Hizb ut-Tahrir. That organisation says that Jews should be killed wherever they are found. What more evidence do we need before we ban that organisation? It is poisoning the minds of young people. Two years ago, the Government said that it should be banned. I ask again: when will this be done?… But there has been a lapse of two years since the Government said that they would ban the organisation. People will find it hard to understand why an organisation that urges people to kill Jews has not been banned.

Melanie then quotes a Hizb ut-Tahrir leaflet:

And kill them [the Jews] wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out.

The leaflet, she continues, also described Jews as

cowards, the most severe in their love for life…covered with humiliation and misery forever…. The Jews are a people of slander. They are a treacherous people who violate oaths and covenants. They lie and change words from their right places. They take the rights of people unjustly, and kill the Prophets and the innocent.

Phillips concludes:

Stuff like this is clear evidence of racial hatred and incitement to murder. David Cameron was absolutely right to say that HuT should be banned for promoting such unlawful incitement. The tragedy for Britain is that examples of such moral clarity in the war we can no longer name have now become rarer than the prospect of a Brit winning Wimbledon.

Of course, Phillips in her book Londonistan and elsewhere refuses to say whether today’s Islamic extremism is based on Islam or on modern ideology. The reason for her refusal to have an opinion on that crucial matter is now evident: she has not the slightest familiarity with even the best known Islamic texts. How else to explain the fact that she seems to believe that the above passages were written by Hizb ut-Tahrir, rather than being quotes and close paraphrases of the Koran and other classic Islamic sources?

It is not Hizb ut-Tahrir that said, “Kill the Jews wherever you find them,” it was the Muslims’ god Allah who said that, speaking through his prophet Muhammad.

So Phillips’s real problem is not with the Hizb ut-Tahrir, is it? Her problem is with Islam and with all orthodox Muslims over the ages who have regarded the Koran, the Hadiths, and the sharia as the unchangeable word of God. If Hizb ut-Tahrir must be designated as a terrorist organization and closed down for what it says about Jews, then all orthodox Muslims in Britain should be designated as terrorists and treated accordingly. Phillips’s outrage that Hizb ut-Tahrir is still allowed to operate freely in Britain is an escape from what she ought to be outraged about, if she were intellectually coherent: that Muslims are still allowed to operate freely in Britain.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 09, 2007 12:41 PM | Send

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