I have always treated the ‘Islamophobe of the Year’ event with the scorn it deserves. Not least because each year this fantasy prize for a fantasy concept is run by a British Khomeinist organisation laughably named the ‘Islamic Human Rights Commission.’ The nominees include anybody opposed to the agenda of Islamic extremists, including Muslims. Of course each year, whilst laughing at it, those of us who are regular nominees also regard it as being to our great good fortune that the IHRC is a British charity operating in the United Kingdom rather than an Islamic charity operating in an Islamic country. If the latter were the case then rather than laughing at the IHRC every year, those of us who it annually attacks would be hanging from cranes.
However, readers will perhaps excuse me if the laughter is slightly quieter this year. The first reason is that the ‘Islamophobe of the Year’ award seems to be gaining ‘mainstream’ ground. This year the awards were not only endorsed by Islamic extremists on the one hand and pseudo-academics like Arun Kundnani on the other, but also by a number of more prominent public figures including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams and former Telegraph journalist Peter Oborne.
Once again I made the shortlist but missed out on the main award. However the UK award for ‘Islamophobe of the Year’ did go to Maajid Nawaz. It would be hard to invent a better display of the agenda of the IHRC and the people involved with it. Because of course Maajid has devoted his life to, and risks his life by, attacking the extremists within the Islamic faith – his faith. The IHRC and their supporters seem to have much in common with fundamentalist and extremist Muslims, in that both are deeply irritated by the few brave Muslims like Nawaz. Indeed they hate him even more than they hate people like me. Readers will have to guess what variety of Islamic group might choose to attack liberal Muslims, what this says about their agenda and what it tells us about the intelligence of the people who support them.
But there is another reason why my laughter is lessened this year. Although I am assured that the laughter at the IHRC’s ‘ceremony’ in London on Saturday was as raucous as ever, this weekend the IHRC gave their international ‘Islamophobe of the Year’ award to the left-wing French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. This might be thought laughable in any other circumstances. The IHRC, one should remember, is a registered British charity. But of course it is not very funny, because only two months ago another group of people who thought Charlie Hebdo is ‘Islamophobic’ went into the magazine’s offices and gunned down their journalists and cartoonists. This is the way the pattern works now – the Islamic terrorists break through the front door with Kalashnikovs and then a whole network of fellow travellers try to sneak in through the back door and explain why the cartoonists and journalists might have had it coming.
Of course the IHRC and their supporters like to pretend that Muslims in Europe are being ‘otherised’ in the manner of Jews in Nazi Germany. But nothing could be further from the truth. Not just because it was concentration camps rather than ‘othering’ which was the main issue in Germany in the middle of the last century. But also because Muslims in Europe enjoy full equal rights – far more so than in any Islamic country in the world today or ever. If there are any negative feelings towards elements of the Muslim community it is towards the extremists. And why shouldn’t people hate those who blow up trains and buses, crash planes into buildings, shoot at free speech seminars and synagogues and target Christians, Hindus, Jews and liberal Muslims around the world? If that ire does end up being more widely and less discerningly directed then it will be precisely because a growing number of non-Muslims begin to notice that Muslim communities seem capable not only of producing the sort of people willing to slaughter journalists and cartoonists but also of then providing a multitude of pseudo-moderate organisations which compare the victims of Islamist violence – rather than the perpetrators – to Nazis.
I hope the IHRC and their supporters had an amusing time at their awards ceremony at the weekend, laughing as they smeared and mocked dead journalists. To my mind it provides a good reminder of what the civilised world is up against, abroad and at home.