HOPE not hate


The Muhammad cartoon exhibition, free speech and the counter-jihadists

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 27 July 2015, 12:12

Today HOPE not hate published a report into plans to host a cartoon exhibition, featuring the Prophet Muhammad, in London on 18 September.


Our report, based on sources close to those involved and on published material, reveals that while some people are supporting the exhibition out of a strong belief for free speech, others are hoping for a violent reaction from British Muslims in order to prove the incompatibility of Islam in the West.


The report reveals that just three weeks before the exhibition was publicly announced, exhibition organisers Anne Marie Waters (of Sharia Watch), Alan Ayling (original financier of the EDL) and Stephen Lennon (‘Tommy Robinson’ ex-EDL leader) met former Britain First founder Jim Dowson to discuss collaborating on a new counter-jihadist project. Counter-Jihadists believe that Islam is aggressive and expansionist, and make little or no distinctions between moderate or hardline followers of the religion.


The conversation quickly changed and, led by Alan Ayling, the three talked about using the Muhammad cartoons to provoke serious civil strife in this country. One element of this plan relied on sending anti-Muslim demonstrators into heavily Muslim areas, waving placards with offensive cartoons.


So horrified by what he had heard, Dowson later denounced these plans on his Knights Templar blog:


“The belief is that Muslims will be so angry that they will start fighting the police in an effort to get at the demonstrators, but that with trouble breaking out in so many places at once the police will be unable to contain it.”


“The plot relies on this fact to envisage that this will mean that the resulting violence will spin out of control, leading to a wave of murderous attacks not just on the ‘useful idiot’ demonstrators but also on the outnumbered police force, pubs and non- Muslims in general.


“Those behind this insanely dangerous idea believe (probably correctly) that heavily armed Muslim drugs gangs will be drawn into the clashes and that Jihadist sleeper cells will also seize the opportunity to come out as militant leaders of their community as part of a massive recruitment and radicalisation drive.


“...What starts with a cartoon of Mohammad having sex with a goat (for this is the sort of image waiting to go out) will end with the coffins of little children fried alive in their own homes by the petrol bombs that are the weapon of choice of communal violence.”


Dowson’s blog gives us an insight into the mindset of those backing the cartoon exhibition and should give everyone great cause for concern. As a consequence, our opposition to the cartoon exhibition is not an attempt to curtail free speech but to prevent a clear incitement to violence.


Let us be clear: criticism of Islam is perfectly acceptable, as it should be of all religions. We should be able to criticise, denounce, mock and satirise. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression is an important part of any democracy and is an integral part of our cultural history.


But with that freedom comes responsibility for our actions, for harm: it has its limits. We oppose this cartoon exhibition on the grounds of incitement.


But let us also be clear: if the exhibition goes ahead then we will encourage everyone to ignore it and show their opposition in a more constructive, positive and unifying way.


The counter-jihadists do not believe it is possible for Muslims and non-Muslims to get along peacefully. So if the exhibition goes ahead, let’s prove to them how wrong they can be.

 Posted: 27 Jul 2015 | There are 2 comments


Comment 1 | From: Ric | Date: 27 July 2015, 22:52

I am worried by the tone of this piece. I think you've got the wrong end of the stick here. Of the counter-jihadists that you mention (and what is wrong with counter-jihad if it means no more than refusal to accept the legitimacy of violence in the name of Islam?) the most poisonous is Jim Dowson, whose Britain First and Knights Templar extol the medieval Church Militant. It is he who has built up this wildly unlikely straw man of mass Muslim riots, enraged by an offensive exhibition. It is insulting to the vast majority of rational, peaceable British Muslims to suggest that, unlike Christians, Sikhs and Jews, they are too excitable to be exposed to this. I do hope you will adhere to the sensible part of your advice: do not try to suppress this exhibition, but if it goes ahead, ignore it and create a safe space for a positive demonstration of harmony by all British citizens under UK law.

Comment 2 | From: Stephen Gash | Date: 28 July 2015, 21:03

That you consider cartoons to be an incitement to violence exposes how you are apologists for Islamisation (which has only ever been achieved through violence), your acceptance that Muslims invariably react violently and paucity of reason. Remind us of Hope Not Hate's view on the 'Piss Christ' so-called 'work of art'. Remind us of the world-wide violence Muslims perpetrated in response to one of their supposed 'prophets,' namely Jesus, being portrayed in such a manner. It must have happened right after Christians started World War III because of it. Muslim outrage is as selective as your own.

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