“The coalition is being set up in the light of ‘claims that different communities and faith groups openly expressing their culture or faith threaten community relations in Britain.'”
Yes, that could never be true.
“Livingstone plays the ‘Islamophobia’ card,” from the National Secular Society, with thanks to WriterMom:
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, has launched a new “Coalition to defend freedom of religious and cultural expression.” The coalition is being set up in the light of “claims that different communities and faith groups openly expressing their culture or faith threaten community relations in Britain.”
Speakers at the launch included the Mayor of London; peace campaigner and activist Bruce Kent; writer Ismail Patel from the British Muslim Initiative; Dr Daud Abdullah, Deputy General Secretary, Muslim Council of Britain; Edie Friedman, Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality; Andrew Stunell MP; and Steve Sinnott, National Union of Teachers.
The launch document for the group says: “The coalition is being set up in the light of continuing media and other claims that different communities and faith groups openly expressing their culture or faith threaten community relations in Britain. Such claims have been most recently and strongly directed at the Muslim community, particularly focusing on the right of Muslim women to wear the veil. But such attacks have also recently included a high profile case where a staff member at British Airways was prohibited from wearing a crucifix. The established rights of Sikh community to wear turbans have also come under assault.”…
Strangely there are no secularist groups among those invited to participate in the coalition, and the MCB obviously thinks that the whole thing is there to protect Islam. In its statement it says: “The MCB welcomes this important initiative. It constitutes a major step toward the protection of religious rights that have become increasingly under threat in the name of security.”…
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “Obviously everybody wants to increase understanding between communities that are ignorant of each other, but Ken Livingstone is not the man to do it. His claims that assaults against Muslims are widespread and common is highly suspect. If you take out the politically motivated arguments about veils and crosses there is very little in the way of aggression towards Muslims beyond the racism that all minority communities suffer. I am highly suspicious of this “˜coalition”. We have to beware that it is not just another instrument for pressurising the Government into giving some kind of undesirable protection to religious beliefs.”