Having been away for nearly a week (not counting coming back from Jerusalem on Sunday to pack up for school the next day in Jaffa), I decided that the patio needed a bit of a clear-up. Today is Halloween. I don't know if it is celebrated anywhere in Israel, but in Britain it has become rather hairy in recent years, with no less a personage than the Bishop of Bolton advocating a return to more spiritual values.
So, as I swept up the paper-thin leaves - evidence that we've had no serious rain at all, in contrast to the same time last year, I wondered what he, who is Chair of the fairly new UK
would make of this newly-launched book on Jew and Christian hatred spouted in everyday, normal, mainstream Muslim mosques in today's Britain. The book is written by Islam and Arabic expert
Dr. Denis MacEoin of Newcastle University:
Also commented on here by
I must say that everything I read in this book about what goes on in mosques in the Greater Manchester area ties in with my own experience of teaching Religion and Theology both at Manchester University at the turn of the millenium (i.e., starting before 9/11) and in local north-west schools during the last 10 years or so. And of course, things have got much worse since then. But the point is to note that this was all going on in the 90s as well and was not the result of 9/11, but one of its causes, as some of us, who work in the area of religion and Middle East studies have been saying for ages, but have either not been heeded, or branded as Islamaphobes (is that why I teach the 'Beatles' to Arabs in Jaffa, I wonder).
Here are some of the more publishable examples of what I myself experienced as the respected teacher, lecturer and mentor of countless Muslim pupils, students and parents whom I encountered between 1996 and 2006 in the Greater Manchester area:
Female pupil: North Manchester School for Girls, Moston, 1999
OOh, we did enjoy your lesson on Islam, Miss: we'll tell our brothers to stop stoning Jewish cars in Cheetham Hill. By the way, please accept this gift of a Koran from our Dad.
Mother of girl aged 14, attending Bury Grammar School, Bury, whom I was tutoring at the time, 2005. The mother wore jeans and was highly critical of much Muslim behaviour
My goodness, Irene, what are all those Jewish kids doing with bags on their backs today. It's half-term! They must be going to tutors! That means that they'll do better than Aisha! (actually, it was not half term for Jewish schools).
Secular Turkish immigrant who wanted me to tutor his daughter, 2004
Dr. Lancaster, I've got two sons! The elder got into Manchester Grammar, but my younger hasn't. This must be a Jewish plot!
MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY. Dept Religions and Theology (one of three best in the country): male student from Oldham, Greater Manchester (parents from Pakistan) during a history class on 'Religion in Mediaeval Spain', September 2000
How dare you discuss the Koran! Everyone knows that the Jews are perfidious and betrayed Muhammad. As a Jew and a woman, you are doubly unclean! (Reaction of Head of Dept: nothing)
Muslim representative on a panel with me (chaired by my friend, the female President of the Manchester Jewish Community) after audience reaction to his anti-British diatribe. The occasion was the Bury Interfaith Forum 2004, held at Bury Town Hall, with the Mayor of Bury representing the Christian religion:
How dare the audience respond to me like that. You're fine and I liked your speech, but that guy in the audience had no right to disagree with my views. I shan't be attending Holocaust Memorial Day after this!
So it isn't just mosques, it seems, but normal, every-day, practically secular, and most definitely well-integrated Muslims who carry these hates and envies within them! And please note that their hatred and envy seems particularly directed towards 'the Jews'.
Melanie has more of the same here:
And here is the Jewish Chronicle's take
with the idiotic response of the Head of the Muslim Council of Britain. Talk about being in denial!
Which will lead nicely to my next blog on Dr. Matthias Kuentzel's book
Jihad and Jew-Hatred
published tomorrow and previewed here:
Matthias was the one who was originally banned from Leeds University, by the way:
Is it really necessary to ask why?