“An Instructive Row”

Says the Guardian’s “Belief” editor, Andrew Brown:

An instructive row has broken out between the Quilliam Foundation, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, humanists, and progressive rabbis on the one hand, and the Green Lanes Mosque in Birmingham, over a couple of visiting Saudi imams who will preach there this weekend.

The Quilliam/BMSD complaint is that these people are well-documented anti-semites and preachers of hate; the mosque responds indignantly that the preachers are thoroughly opposed to al-Qaeda and to terrorism, and that the objectors are unrepresentative stooges.

I won’t repeat the arguments of Andrew Brown, because you should go read them yourself. Suffice it to say that they are excellent, and precisely correct.

It is also noteworthy that British Muslims for Secular Democracy and Quilliam, two Muslim organisations, are leading the fight against antisemitism, extremism and sectarianism. They have exposed Green Lanes Mosque as utterly unapologetic about racism, to put it mildly. And they have done so in a coalition which includes secularists, rabbis, vicars and a senior mainstream imam.

These are our comrades.

Quilliam, too, has another pop here. Another ‘must read’ piece.

There is also this guest post by Shaaz Mahboob at Pickled Politics, which is just spot on.

These are grim times, and there is often more bad news than good. But sometimes, there is a spark of light.