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Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Lies, damned lies and politics

It's good to see politicians ducking and diving, squirming and wriggling, in order to try to milk their potential electorate of every last vote.

Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson (the sitting London Labour mayor and the Tory challenger for that post) were being quizzed on the "religion of peace" the other day. Yes, Johnson refers to it as that, whereas back in 2005, after the 7 July London bombings, he was saying, "Islam is the problem." He says now that he was talking only of those who take Koranic scriptures out of context.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but do not parts of the Koran and Hadiths actually call for death for people who transgress from this "religion of peace" in certain ways?

Enlighten me, Boris.

Livingston has been defending his open-arms welcome of the arch-homophobe, pro-women-beating, pro-suicide-bombing so-called scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi in 2004. It caused quite a stir, especially among the gay community.

"The Qatar-based Egyptian cleric has also advocated the use of Palestinian children as suicide bombers," says this Telegraph story, "and once claimed that Asian tsunami victims were punished by Allah because their countries were centres of perversion." Yet no criticism from "gay-friendly" Mr Livingstone.

Enlighten me, Ken.

Livingstone told the BBC's Politics Show that, while he didn't agree with some of al-Qaradawi's views, this monster (my word, not his) did not support terrorism against the West. "He is a man who is prepared to say al-Qa'eda is wrong and to be very strong in that condemnation," Livingston said. So he doesn't support terrorism against the West. Good. But just against the West? Al-Qa'eda is wrong, but not Muslims in those countries who push walls onto gays or throw them off buildings, who treat women like shit, who devise exquisitely cruel deaths for transgressors against this or that?

Enlighten me, Yusuf.

But let's go back to Livingstone for a moment. The Telegraph story continues:

Mr Livingstone's liberal approach to controversial figures such as al-Qaradawi has won him a friend in Azzam Tamimi, a Palestinian supporter of Hamas, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

Mr Tamimi is part of a group called Muslims 4 Ken, which is aiming to mobilise Muslim voters to help re-elect Mr Livingstone for a third term on May 1.

Oh, right. Things are starting to fit into place now.

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