03 April 2004

Blair calls race summit amid election jitters - [Sunday Herald]
Tony Blair has decided to place the almost-taboo subject of race in Britain at the top of his government’s agenda and ordered a “cross-government assault to tackle abuse of the immigration system”.
The Prime Minister has called a “race and immigration summit” for Tuesday.

The head of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, who is close to Blair, said yesterday that multiculturalism in Britain was “out of date” and encouraged “separateness”.

He said there was an urgent need to “assert a core of Britishness” because multiculturalism in the present political era “means the wrong thing”.

The Muslim Council of Britain tried to conceal its anger , and general secretary Iqbal Sacranie said: “Multiculturalism is something to cherish and be proud of.” He said Phillips’s comments had been “too Muslim-specific”.

Robina Qureshi, director of a Glasgow-based anti-racism pressure group, said she was “disgusted” by Phillips’s comments and questioned what “Britishness” meant to Scots, Irish and Welsh as well as Asians.

Other Muslim leaders were equally sceptical that Phillips had contributed positively to a new and growing debate on race . The Glasgow MP, Mohammad Sarwar, said: “I don’t have a problem with multiculturalism and a multi-faith society. That diversity is a source of strength, not weakness.”

(ya, strength for Islam, which would be no problem if Islam's goal weren't to take over and subjugate everything else.)

The black peer and former Tory candidate, Lord Taylor of Warwick, branded Phillips “too right-wing for me.” Taylor said Phillips’s motivation seemed to be driven by a belief that some Muslims were “anti-British”.

I can't imagine where anyone gets the belief that some Muslims are anti-British:
Police and Crown Prosecution lawyers are examining an interview with Abdul Haq, spokesman for extremist Muslim group Al-Muhajiroun, after receiving a flood of complaints from listeners.

Mr Haq said on BBC Radio 2's Jimmy Young show that the Muslim struggle would continue "until we see the flag of Islam flying over 10 Downing Street".

29 March 2004

Acting Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio (from Aznar’s outgoing govt) on CSPAN3 just about lost it when she was asked “Do you see Muslims viewing Spain differently than the rest of Europe?” I typed as she was talking and obviously couldn’t get it all, as there was not a single complete sentence in her answer:
(much coughing and fumbling for words)
Its true that Spain has an Arab Muslim influence that is unique among neighboring countries which does not mean in Spain we have been that aware in the last centuries… as I say we have lived… I would say going against our Arab roots or forgetting or turning our backs on that reality…. monuments ….Arab words in our vocabulary…Toledo …we cannot negate our roots but we have just lived far from this reality. What is true is that now Al Qaeda and these extremist groups tend to speak of Spain as Al Andalus and they view it as territory to be reconquered. This is an awkward idea present in many messages by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
I think Spain can play a key role…. by recovering these roots we can play a role of being a conveyor belt… in a cultural relationship Mediterranean/European… Transatlantic… Latin American cultural ties with Spain …. cultural border shifting towards United States
Trails off, covers mouth, sinks wide-eyed behind microphone….

She also stood up for the rule of law and denounced the idea that there is terrorism with a small t and Terrorism with a capital T, that some terrorists have more moral standing and some terrorists have less. She says they all threaten the rule of law and no fine moral distinctions should be made between Al Qaeda, Hamas and ETA.