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Dr Martin Parsons: Gordon Brown’s hypocrisy in condemning the Archbishop's sharia comments

Martinparsons Dr Martin Parsons negotiated with the Taliban and other radical Islamist groups in Afghanistan as an aid worker there and in Pakistan. He has a PhD in Islam and Christian Muslim Relations and is on the Party's candidates list. Here, he outlines ways in which the Labour government has gone too far in appeasing Muslim groups.

On Thursday Gordon Brown’s spokesman denounced Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ claim that the introduction of sharia to the UK was inevitable. However, Gordon Brown himself has been quietly seeking to appease certain aspects of the agenda of 'peaceful' Islamist groups in the UK - including what amounts to a partial implementation of sharia. 

In the 2005 general election Labour’s share of the Muslim vote collapsed from its normally rock solid 85% down to around 70%. It lost safe Labour seats to the Lib-Dems like Rochdale (5,650 maj), Hornsey and Wood Green (10,600 maj)  – not to mention losing Bethnal Green and Bow (10,000 maj) to George Galloway – and nearly lost several other Labour seats. This was partly due to a Muslim Vote card campaign run by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), a Muslim umbrella organisation whose leadership was largely taken over by Islamists as soon as it was formed. Candidates of all parties were told to sign up to a range of Islamic issues – public funding Muslim schools, changes in UK foreign policy etc the MCB told Muslims told to vote against candidates who refused to do so. The MCB claimed it could swing the vote in at least 20 constituencies – as the Muslim majority was greater than that of the sitting MP – who was almost always Labour.

So whilst Labour’s record of appeasement may disappoint us, it perhaps shouldn’t surprise us. Labour has a similar relationship with Islamic organisations as it had with the trade unions in the nineties. It wants their votes – but doesn’t agree with all of their agenda. So, it appeases them by giving them some of what they want.

Labour’s appeasement of Islamism in the UK – including sharia:

  1. Immediately after the 2005 election, which saw Labour share of the Muslim vote collapse – the government announced the incitement to religious hatred legislation. This was widely seen by Islamic organisations as the ‘Muslim blasphemy law’ they had campaigned 18 long years for since the Rushdie affair. Blasphemy against Muhammad is THE most serious offence in sharia – and carries the automatic death penalty in countries such as Pakistan.
  2. August 2006 Ruth Kelly and John Prescott met Islamic leaders immediately after the Heathrow terrorist arrests. They were asked for a partial implementation of sharia for family law in the UK and Muslim festival to become bank holidays. Ruth Kelly then set up a commission to look into implementing the first.
  3. June 2007 (Brown now Labour leader and as PM in waiting making joint decisions with Blair) – a government sponsored report on the teaching of Islam in British universities was published. One may well ask exactly what the Labour government was doing asking a senior member of the Islamic Foundation – the UK’s largest overtly Islamist group - to write this government sponsored report ON HIS OWN? The report recommended that non Muslims should be banned from teaching the main Islamic subjects in British universities! The PM publicly welcomed this report! (99)
  4. Gordon Brown appointed David Milliband as the new Foreign Secretary. Almost the very first public statement Milliband made was to publicly praise Hamas – the Islamist terrorist group that is ideologically committed to the complete annihilation of the state of Israel – the ONLY state in the entire Middle East that even remotely resembles a liberal democracy.
  5. In September 2007 Ed Balls - Gordon Brown’s chief lieutenant, and newly promoted to be Secretary of state for families, children and schools - offered state funding to Islamic schools – again part of the Muslim Vote Card agenda (However, many ordinary Muslims recognise Islamic schools as part of the Islamist agenda and won’t send their children to them).
  6. September 2007 (remember Brown’s team had really seriously whipped up election fever now!) Des Browne, Labour’s part time Defence Secretary, told the Labour Party conference that we should negotiate with the Taliban! (Why exactly have 87 British soldiers given their lives and hundreds of others paid the ‘daily living sacrifice’ of the wounded and disabled?)
  7. Des Browne ALSO told the Labour Conference that the future government of Afghanistan MUST include Islamic law. Actually apart from during the Taliban era, Afghanistan has since the early twentieth century had a western style constitution – with sharia courts having a much more informal, non constitutional role. As a former aid worker in Afghanistan, I KNOW that there are hundreds of thousands of people in the towns and cities of Afghanistan that DESPERATELY DON’T’ want government imposed Islamic law – they just want the Afghan constitution).
  8. THEN – in November 2007 Treasury minister Kitty Ussher (and let’s not suppose anything significant has ever happened at the treasury since Labour came to power in 1997 - without Gordon Brown’s explicit say so!) announced a 3 month consultation on the Treasury introducing Islamic sukkuk bonds that are compliant with sharia. Now if we do that - we effectively create a whole area of government and economics that can ONLY be governed by Islamic lawyers and sharia courts – and guess what..?/ sharia forbids any non Muslim from sitting as a judge in a sharia court. Moreover, the commercial law aspects of sharia ALWAYS favour Muslims when there is any deal between Muslims and non Muslims. In fact this is a principle of sharia because sharia fundamentally assumes that Muslims – as the people in submission to Allah – must always govern non Muslims…).
  9. Then in February 2008 (yes only a week ago!) – the Department for Work and Pensions announced that where there was a ‘valid’ polygamous marriage it would pay extra benefits. The government admitted this would mainly benefit Muslims (as sharia allows men to have 4 wives). Quite how a polygamous marriage in the UK could in any sense be ‘valid’ when bigamy is a criminal offence in the UK beats me…! but perhaps the government was intending to legalise bigamy to make it ‘sharia compliant’

So, Gordon Brown has been at it all along appeasing the agenda of ‘peaceful’ Islamist groups in the UK, who reject violence, but have stated they want to see a gradual move towards an Islamic state in Britain by means of a step by step alignment of British law with sharia.

Now what’s that word for someone who criticises someone else for suggesting something that they are actually covertly doing themselves……?

Conservative MPs rightly condemned Rowan Williams for his extraordinarily ill judged, naïve and wrong headed comments, but we must also hold Gordon Brown to account for the way he is playing fast and loose with the Islamist agenda.      


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