We have been entertained, over the last few days, by the spectacle of one nutter – with the assistance of the Crown Prosecution Service – hauling a couple of other nutters through the courts, at the taxpayers’ expense.
Few of you will have missed the court case, in which two “born again Christians” were accused by a woman who had very recently ‘reverted’ to Islam – having passed through various other religions – of having committed the offence of “religiously aggravated assault”.
When all the evidence was in, what seemed to have happened was this. Ms Vernon, the complainant, turned up to breakfast one morning dressed in a hijab. Mr and Mrs Vogelenzang, the defendants, rather rudely took the piss. Ms Kazi responded with some fruity language about her “tits” and “backside”. The group then engaged in robust debate on the subject of Mohammed’s military record, and Jesus’ divine or prophetic status.
I expect that the scene was rather like this:
The case demonstrates the wisdom of the maxim: never discuss religion or politics at the dinner table.
I’d never initiate an argument with a religious person over their style of dress, or choice of beliefs – but then it is difficult to know who started it. (Yes, yes, I know, “they” invaded Andalusia, ect ect ect)
As nutty as I think the Vogelenzangs – and the Christian Institute which backed them – are, I should never have heard about this incident. It was a private matter. It is very difficult to see why this case was ever brought to court. The judge was quite right to throw it out.
Now, let’s see what the so-called Islamic Human Rights Commission has to say about this trial. Surprise surprise! It turns out that this front group for the Islamic Republic of Iran was behind the case:
UK – IHRC shocked at acquittal decision; verdict highlights failings in the system
IHRC is shocked at the decision to acquit Mr and Mrs Vogelenzang. IHRC feels that the conflation of terrorism with Islam popularized by mainstream politicians and the mainstream media has created fertile breeding ground for anti-Muslim sentiment.
Mrs. Tazi commented on the verdict saying ‘I have no faith in the system as a Muslim.’
IHRC has supported her throughout her case and will continue to support her and many others in her situation who bear the brunt of discrimination based on religion.
IHRC Chair Massoud Shadjareh states:
“Mr. and Mrs Vogelenzang acted out of hatred which is a reflection of the anti-Muslim sentiment in popular discourse. This acquittal indicates that such hatred has become acceptable. The verdict sets a bad precedent as Muslims will further lose faith in the system.”
First of all, it is notable that the IHRC has been so quick off the mark to condemn the English legal system for acquitting the Vogelenzangs. They have, after all, had nothing to say about the murder, rape and torture of thousands of Iranian pro-democracy protestors in Iran. Eventually, they came up with this. Precisely what you’d expect from a Khomeinist front organisation.
Secondly, although parts of the tabloid press certainly do encourage anti-Muslim bigotry, the IHRC’s objection to the “conflation of terrorism with Islam” is quite remarkable.
The IHRC itself is guilty of conflating Islam with terrorism. They do it repeatedly and vocally.
Here are a few examples.
Last month, they toured around British universities, the Achmad Cassiem, a Nelson Mandela-hater who the US State Department identified as the founder of a post-Apartheid Islamist terrorist organisation, Qibla/PAGAD.
They campaign for the “blind Sheikh”, Omar Abdel Rahman, who was the spiritual leader of the first WTC bombers. IHRC calls (pdf) for his release and asks Muslims to pray for him.
They’re campaigning for a cop-killer and Black Panther called H Rap Brown. Why? Because he has converted to Islam in prison.
The stage, each year, the Khomeinist “Al Quds Day” march, at which speakers and participants – from extremist groups including Hizb ut Tahrir – proclaim their support for Hamas and Hezbollah.
By contrast, when it comes to convicting British Muslims who engage in terrorism – well, IHRC chairman Massoud Shadjareh defends them. Here he is arguing that the conviction of Abu Hamza creates “an environment that can only further alienate the Muslim community”.
A group like the IHRC damages British Muslims, just as surely as the worst Daily Express headlines do. Yet, amazingly, they’re treated with respect. Last month, they were invited to Parliament to present to a select committee on the operation of Prevent. They’re against it.