Lord Ahmed Redux

The ban on Geert Wilders entering the UK, which is back in the news because it has now been overturned, is a splendid example of the present government’s misplaced pandering to minorities. The government thinks it wins some votes but judging from what most people think it was a massive vote loser, and rightly so.

Given below is an analysis of readers comments on Lord Ahmed’s post on Guardian Cif on 13 February in which he tried to justify his actions in asking the Home Secretary to ban Mr Wilders from the UK.

“Wilders’ ban is in Britain’s best interests”
“His film encourages violence from both extremist Muslims and far-right groups: despite abuse and threats, I stand by my actions.” See full post here

Nigh on everyone, that is 99% of Cif readers, thought Lord Ahmed wrong. And most of the criticism is scathing.

Sample chart

This is based on the first 40 of a total of 213 comments. A detailed analysis is given in the following table.

Readers Comments Votes for Comments
Number % Number %
Strongly For 2 5.0 15 0.3
Neutral 1 2.5 36 0.8
Against 1 2.5 17 0.3
Strongly Against 36 90.0 4408 98.5
Totals 40 100.0 4476 100.0

A few typical comments on what Lord Ahmed had to say are given below.

…. if you had simply shut up and let Wilders come, no-one would have been any the wiser, the event would have gone off without incident, the government wouldn’t have disgraced itself internationally and you wouldn’t look like a caricature of an intolerant, angry Muslim protestor. Well done you.

This is from a speech by someone named Israel Shamir who was invited to speak at the House of Lords by Lord Ahmed. I think it contains some pretty vile stereotypes about Jews but I wouldn’t want him banned, lets give the guy his free speech, judge for yourselves but click recommend if you think Ahmed is a hypocrite. ….

The individual is a EU citizen he should be allowed free entry. What next are we to ban individuals because they deny the holocaust. Let him come and have his say we have put up with all sorts of nutters over the years.

…. You can see the BNP in the euro elections getting loads of publicty for this.

Sorry – can I just say in the most polite way possible that as a (relatively liberal) UK Muslim, I wish you had stayed out of this affair. The whole episode has been a farce. There was no reasonable reason for the UK to deny him entry. They should’ve have let him, a few people would’ve watched his movie and he would’ve left. No big deal.

…. I really am sick, tired and quite frankly bored with people like you claiming to speak on behalf on the ‘Muslim community’ ….

I disagree with you and I think it’s highly unpalatable that you and/or the community you claim to represent can influence government action in this case.

Also, if you did not make the alleged threat to mobilise 10,000 Muslims to demonstrate against the visit, can we be allowed to know exactly what it was you said that gave rise to the “rumour”?

…. It seems to me that the prevailing opinion in the United Kingdom is that infidels arent supposed to say anything critical about the Islamic religion. On the other hand, practitioners of that religion can say anything they want about Western values.

…. Wilders says explicitly in his movie that it is not up to him, but to Muslims themselves, to denounce the hateful verses in the Koran. And yes, there are “hateful” verses in the Koran, as anyone who has studied it will know.

Lord Pearson asked you, Lord Ahmed, on Sky News yesterday for your opinion on the Islamic principle of abrogation, which says that the more violent and warlike passages of the Koran, which deal with Mohammad’s life in Medina, take precedence over other passages. You claimed that all verses in the Koran are equal, and carry exactly the same weight. A very poor answer. But an excellent question by Lord Pearson.

I dont think for one minute you have the slightest care for Britains interests but only for your own and those of your ‘community’. Anyone who has a care for Britains interests knows our history of free speech to be of absolute central importance to our evolution as a liberal, developed country.

Attempts to set this aside by unelected ‘community leaders’ is a very dark path indeed and not one people are likely to take lightly. This banning will cause more community tension than allowing him, its just that the sort of ‘community tension’ involved will likely include words rather than violence.

…. There was no threat the public security in the UK until you invented one. ….

You have given the impression that the Muslim community in this country is intolerant and will resort to violence in the face of criticism of their beliefs. The consequence is the further erosion of the hard won right to free speech and resentment towards the community you claim to represent. Well played sir, Wilders could not have done better himself.

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