At Though Cowards Flinch, Carl Packman writes about his frustrating and unsuccessful efforts to encourage a protest against the Jew-hating Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky’s recent appearance at a London mosque.
I hate to come across all Eustonite or “decent” [heaven forbid-gz] but if Geert Wilders or Le Pen or someone dreadful like that came to our town, we’d be all over them like a rash, but with figures such as Zakzaky – who is not small beer by the way, he is the head of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) – we give it a miss.
Some may say that Zakzaky has never committed terror himself, which is why it is not important, but this does not disprove his threat. Some may say, in his words, he does not cause terror. This is questionable, but I’m careful not to make claims I cannot substantiate. During the conference season, the Quilliam Foundation held an event on how non-violent extremism can be just as dangerous as violent extremism. Whether directly or indirectly, Zakzaky has sounded off to the tune of racial discrimination and religious violence, and this should not be sniffed at.
There is no such thing as a “decent” left. There are leftwingers and rightwingers, with some mixing in the middle, and there are hypocrites and those who allow confused politics affect principles. I do not level this charge at anyone in particular, but in the fight against fascism in all its forms, we can’t just sit on our hands, we should be pulling our fingers out.
In the end I went down to the mosque by myself, and I was ineffective and nervous about getting on the wrong side of anyone. But were I backed up with the same level of energy certain organisations reserve for other far rightwingers, we could have told a number of people what we think about foul ideas infiltrating vulnerable communities.
What’s needed, of course, is a group of people willing to turn out and protest prominent bigots and haters of all races and creeds; people who are just as outraged by the likes of Wilders and Le Pen as they are by the likes of Qaradawi and Zakzaky. For whatever reason, it seems such people are few.
But as I discovered a few years back when I got volunteers from among Harry’s Place readers in the US and Canada to leaflet appearances by George Galloway, even a few people can have an impact.