The British National Party sought yesterday to present the killing of one of its activists by a Muslim elder as an act of white martyrdom. On the steps of Stafford Crown Court, Michael Coleman, a BNP councillor and organiser of the party's Stoke-on-Trent branch, said: "We advise anybody who gets angry: get involved with the BNP." He was speaking at the end of the trial into the killing of Keith Brown, 52, a former boxer and friend of the BNP leader Nick Griffin, who collapsed and died after being knifed in the back by his next-door neighbour Habib Khan. Mr Griffin attended his funeral.
Khan, 50, was unanimously cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter after a jury heard that he had endured racism, threats and violence from Mr Brown and his son, Ashley Barker, also a BNP activist. Khan was also convicted of wounding Mr Barker, 20. His son, Azir Habib Saddique, 24, was cleared of the same charge. Khan's sentencing was adjourned.
Simon Darby, Stoke BNP's deputy leader, has been blogging daily from the courtroom. The funeral is posted on YouTube. A DVD will be distributed, playing on voters' worries about violent attacks blamed on Asian men. Other BNP units are being urged to adopt the strategy of highlighting local Muslim-on-white attacks.
The potency of the far Right claiming its first martyr dawned last year as six BNP councillors shouldered their fallen comrade's coffin. To some white supremacist websites, Mr Brown is being built up as the Horst Wessel of the Potteries, a British equivalent of the Nazi songwriter shot dead by a Berlin communist in 1930. An online book of Condolence hails Mr Brown as "the first nationalist victim of Islamic jihad against Great Britain".
Behind the rhetoric lies a tale of two middle-aged, Middle England fathers whose rivalry descended into loathing. Khan dreamt of knocking down two semis and creating a single grand villa next to a pair of ageing end-terrace houses where Mr Brown, his girlfriend and their seven children lived in the Normacot district.
Mr Brown tried everything to stop the building work but Khan erected a miniature palace with carved stone pillars and huge decorative amphorae in the garden. Like most neighbourhood feuds, it boiled down to a row over boundaries. Mr Brown accused Khan of putting a fence on his land and said that the conservatory blocked his light. Mr Brown was a dangerous man with convictions for what Judge Simon Tonking called "extreme violence" in his twenties. In 2000 he was convicted for punching a man in the face.
Mr Brown turned to the local authority for assistance and was introduced to Steve Batkin, then the sole BNP member of Stoke council. Mr Batkin lodged a complaint that the Khans were behaving aggressively. The councillor took the police a DVD showing an Asian man apparently kicking out at Mr Brown from the Khans' side of the boundary. The Staffordshire force allegedly declined to view the disc. The Independent Police Complaints Authority is investigating a BNP complaint that the police failed to protect Mr Brown, and a mirror-image complaint from the Khans.
The BNP recruited Mr Brown. "We started talking about politics," said Mr Coleman. "We found he agreed with what we were saying. We have many angry young men in our ranks. Our aim is: don't put it on the streets, put your anger into politics." Although Mr Brown declined to join, he helped with campaigns. "He was an excellent activist," Mr Coleman said.
Stoke-on-Trent BNP's first campaign about an alleged Asian-on-white attack came after the death of a barman who collapsed eight days after being allegedly beaten and hit on the head with a wheelbrace by a group of men in 1998. Last summer the BNP leafleted about another Asian attack that left a white victim hospitalised. "We went from abstract politics - the European Union, the threat of floods of immigrants coming - to a grass-roots campaign," Mr Coleman said.
At this month's Stoke elections, the BNP received nearly 8,000 votes, exceeded only by Labour with 11,000. The far-right party won an extra three seats to reach a total of nine. Normacot is torn by racial tensions. Khan was a stalwart of his local mosque where, after the 9/11 attacks, a pig's head was dumped as an insult to Muslims arriving for prayers. The mosque treasurer Mohammed Hanif smiled sadly when asked about race relations. Some of his worshippers, he said, endured living beside whites who "didn't like it at all that they had coloured Asian neighbours".
Fears of `the Islamic problem' brought success at polls
The British National Party, the far-right, white-only movement founded in 1982 from the ruins of the National Front, now claims about 100 councillors, mainly in communities with large Muslim populations. The principal strategy of Nick Griffin, its Cambridge-educated leader, has been to escape the jackbooted, knuckle-dragging image of street-fighting neo-Nazis and to become a popular anti-immigration party. The East End of London has become a stronghold, with the BNP installed as the official opposition on Barking & Dagenham council under the leadership of the artist Richard Barnbrook. Mr Barnbrook made a breakthrough by winning the BNP's first seat in the London Assembly.
The party's electoral success came after it began concentrating its attacks on Muslims. Since 9/11 and the Asian riots in the North of England in 2001 it has gained representation on local authorities from Burnley, Kirklees and Rotherham in the North to Stoke-on-Trent, Sandwell and Nuneaton in the Midlands and Epping in Essex. The first sign of the success of Mr Griffin's strategy came when he stood as a candidate at Oldham West in the 2001 general election and came a close third with 16 per cent of the vote. By the European elections of 2004, he was focusing on what he described as the problem of attacks by Muslims.
After a BBC documentary recorded him calling Islam a "wicked and vicious faith", he was charged with stirring up racial hated. At the end of two trials, he was cleared and depicted himself as a champion of free speech. He has a previous conviction from 1998 for incitement to racial hatred. Recent BNP literature has expressed some sympathies with blacks and Hindus, portraying them as fellow victims of Muslims.
How Obama Got 'Ahead of the Curve' on Same-Sex Marriage
When presidential candidate Barack Obama spoke last month with Advocate.com -- which describes itself as an "LGBT" (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) news site -- he took a different approach to same-sex marriage than he took in 2004, when he was running for the U.S. Senate. "I'm a Christian," Obama said then, "and so although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman." This statement, reported at the time by The Associated Press, came in a Sept. 24, 2004, interview with WBBM-AM, a Chicago radio station.
In his interview with Advocate.com, published on April 10, Obama did not suggest Christian tradition was at the root of his own views on same-sex marriage, but he did suggest it was a root cause of "homophobia" -- as he criticized traditionalist African American Christian clergymen. "There's plenty of homophobia to go around," the interviewer said to Obama, "but you have a unique perspective into the African-American community. Is there a ... (ellipses in original)"
"I don't think it's worse than in the white community," Obama responded. "I think that the difference has to do with the fact that the African-American community is more churched, and most African-American churches are still fairly traditional in their interpretations of Scripture. And so from the pulpit or in sermons you still hear homophobic attitudes expressed. And since African-American ministers are often the most prominent figures in the African-American community, those attitudes get magnified or amplified a little bit more than in other communities."
When asked about his favoring "civil unions" but not same-sex "marriages," Obama was quick to point out that he understood why the "LGBT" community wanted not only same-sex unions that were equal in law to marriage, but also the word "marriage," too. "So, I strongly respect the right of same-sex couples to insist that even if we got complete equality in benefits, it still wouldn't be equal because there's a stigma associated with not having the same word, marriage, assigned to it," he said.
Despite his unwillingness to advocate the use of the word "marriage" to describe the legalized same-sex unions he says favors, Obama boasted that he is in the top 1 percent of American politicians in advancing the "LGBT" cause. "And I think that it is absolutely fair to ask me for leadership," he told Advocate.com, "and my argument would be that I'm ahead of the curve on these issues compared to 99 percent of most elected officials around the country on this issue." Just how far ahead of the curve is he?
In The Advocate, he noted that, "I for a very long time have been interested in repeal of DOMA," the Defense of Marriage Act. A position paper titled "On LGBT Rights" published by his campaign says Obama believes "we need to fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act."
The practical effect of fully repealing DOMA would be to force all the other 48 states to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in Massachusetts and California, where the state supreme courts have now said same-sex marriage is a "right." That is because the main purpose of DOMA is to exempt states from having to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states as they would otherwise need to under the "Full Faith and Credit Clause" of the Constitution.
But there is good reason to believe Obama does not want the entire electorate to pay close attention to the predictable consequence of the policy he advocates. When the California Supreme Court issued its same-sex marriage ruling earlier this month, his campaign issued a statement suggesting that he respected the right of states to determine their own marriage laws.
"Barack Obama has always believed that same-sex couples should enjoy equal rights under the law, and he will continue to fight for civil unions as president," the statement said, according to The Associated Press. "He respects the decision of the California Supreme Court and continues to believe that states should make their own decisions when it comes to the issue of marriage."
If this statement is true, Obama needs to reverse his call for repealing DOMA, which he was touting to Advocate.com as recently as last month. If he does not reverse his call for repealing DOMA, his true position is that every state in the union should be forced to recognize same-sex marriages.
"See you in court"
Here's the opening of Mark Steyn's speech at the Fraser Institute in Vancouver on the subject of the hate speech charges brought against him by British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for criticizing Islam. It's a Gangbusters type curtain raiser, but the longer we read the more apparent it is that the speech is less about radical Islam than something else.
I'm honoured to be here. The only other invitation I've had from Vancouver is from the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal which begins its case against my "hate speech" next Monday. I confess until this case came about I'd always assumed Canada had freedom of speech.But what "kinda guy" is modern Western multiculturalism, that proud creation of "progressive" thought? It is, in the last analysis, the principal ally of every fascist unicultural force there is. Steyn soon warms to the point that what is at issue isn't what Islam is; because Islam will be what it will be. What is at issue in the hate speech proceedings is what the West wants to be.
I was south of the border, and you may remember that business from last year when Senator Larry Craig had his unfortunate run-in with the undercover cop in the Minneapolis Airport men's room. I was amazed to read this story in the newspaper a few months ago, announcing that his lawyer had filed a brief arguing that the hand gestures Senator Craig supposedly made under the bathroom stall divider were constitutionally protected free speech under the First Amendment.
What a great country. In Canada, according to the Canadian Islamic Congress, "freedom of speech" doesn't extend to my books and newspaper columns. But in America Senator Craig's men's room semaphore is covered by the First Amendment. From now on, instead of writing about radical Islam, I'm only going to hit on imams in bathrooms.
This is my first ever speech in Vancouver. And, amazingly enough, it's also my last ever speech in Vancouver. So it's kind of a two-for-one night. It's like when they say "Direct from Broadway. Limited engagement." This is a very limited engagement. The reason for that is, next Monday, the excerpt from my bestselling hate crime, "America Alone", that Maclean's made the mistake of publishing, next Monday that book excerpt goes on trial at the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal.
As some of you know, the Canadian Islamic Congress has accused me and Maclean's of "flagrant Islamophobia". And the trial begins Monday morning at the Robson Square courthouse - 9 o'clock Monday morning. Go to Robson Square and look for the old lady by the guillotine doing her knitting, you can't miss it. She's knitting a nice "The World Needs More Canada" sweater out of discarded copies of Magna Carta. It's a very moving sight. It would have, of course, be wholly improper of me to comment on a case before the courts, but hey, that's the kinda guy I am.
What we're up against is not primarily defined by what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those are still essentially military campaigns and we're good at those. ... it might be truer to say that this is a Cold Civil War - by which I mean a war within the west. The real war is a domestic war: the key terrain is not the Sunni Triangle but every major city within the Western world. ...Steyn's insight -- that the War on Terror is essentially the consequence of a Western disease that manifests itself in the newly found power of medieval madmen -- is the key point. All September 11, Iraq, Afghanistan have done is focus attention on a silent struggle that has been going on within Western culture for last hundred years. It is the ideational counterpart of violent struggles of the 20th century. The men who we remember on Memorial Day only buried the physical corpus of totalitarianism. It remains for us, in the twenty first century, to lay its ghost to rest.
Even if there were no battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, even if no one was flying planes into tall buildings in New York, even if no one were blowing up trains and buses and nightclubs in Madrid and London and Bali, even without all that, we would still be in danger of losing this thing - without a shot being fired.
Can we do it without restarting the violence of the last hundred years? Perhaps. But can we do it without a mental and legal struggle. Definitely not. And so Mark Steyn continues in defiance of the thought police. Because that's the kind of guy he is.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.