UK Politics

Representatives of the community

Dean Godson of the Policy Exchange writes in The Times today on among other things Mohammed Naseem. You know him, the former Respect Party candidate who does a nice line in victimhood as chairman of the Birmingham Central mosque.

He’s been in the news again recently with the behead a squaddie plot and always has one or two things to say “on behalf of the community”.

To recap, Naseem’s greatest hits include “Britain is starting to resemble a Nazi state” and “we are not convinced that those people [9/11 hi-jackers]… were actually Muslims”. He said similar things about the 7/7 bombers. I know, it is tough being a “community leader”.

He stood for Respect in the 2005 election using his position as “community leader”, but what’s that? The community didn’t have much time for him as they re-elected Labour’s Khalid Mahmood on 47% (Naseem polled 5.7% of the vote).

“Everyone pays court to him [Naseem ] as a ‘community leader’. Yet whom does Dr Naseem actually represent?

“In what way is Dr Naseem ‘moderate’? In comparison to troublemaking local factions such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir, he no doubt is. But there is very little in Dr Nazeem’s world view that divides him from the extremists. Like them, he propagates the myth of Muslim victimhood.

“Dr Naseem can denounce 7/7 until el Andalus becomes Muslim again, but the fact remains that he caters to the sense of oppression that fuels jihadi violence. David Cameron rightly gave him short shrift when he visited the Birmingham Central mosque a few days after the police raids. The Government is no less contemptuous. Indeed, it was noted at the highest levels that the response of the Muslim Council of Britain to Dr Naseem’s enormities was a deafening silence.”

Godson tells a nice story about the late Frank Chapple, the long-time leader of the electricians’ and how he dealt with such trouble makers of his day, namely the Militant (now the Socialist Party of England and Wales).

” ‘Ere, boy, know what these Trots are like? They’re like the Red Indians surroundin’ the ’omestead in those early cowboy films. The camera flits from one window to the next and it looks like there’s ’undreds of ’em. In fact it’s the same three geezers runnin’ round.”

This kind of sums up the likes of Dr Naseem, although he is better heard than Militant ever were. No one ever put them on Panorama (although maybe Dave Nellist once made it that far), but as Godson puts it the Muslim community knows that their community leaders have done too little for them.

“Birmingham will prove politically more significant in the long term. Since then, more and more British Muslims have piped up effectively to proclaim “not in my name”. They are fed up with the atmosphere of oppression and extremism in their neighbourhoods; as far as they are concerned, the main threat to Muslims are, well, other Muslims. And they believe that their “leaders” have done far too little to fight this.”