They say in a special clarification page on their website:
SIOE has never had any physical opposition to its events in England until 11th September 2009, because it is universally recognised as being non-racist and opposing Nazism, Communism and the nastiest form of totalitarianism, Islam.
SIOE has argued for a free, open and honest debate about the place, if any, of Islam within Western democracies. However, when we have not been universally ignored by the media and politicians, we have been condemned, in the predictably hackneyed manner, with accusations of racism, bigotry etc.
As we said in our post of 10 September (below which a SIOE comment has appeared from one of their spokespeople):
The organisers, a group called Stop Islamification of Europe, say they always work with the police, they hate racism, but they don’t like Islamification. Sounds good to me, as long as they mean that.
A spokesman, Stephen Gash, is quoted as saying, “We mean what we say and we say what we mean regarding racism, because we don’t tolerate any kind of racism, but Islam itself is another matter.
“We are against any form of totalitarianism and basically we regard Islam as the nastiest form of totalitarianism ever devised.
“We fundamentally oppose any introduction of sharia law into England, the UK and the European Union.”
Which all seems rather reasonable.
How reasonable will be open to how the group conduct themselves in their dealings with the wider public – assuming the media give them a fair platform, of course.
As for some humanist and gay groups (and the dubious Unite Against Fascism, whose actions are questioned on our post linked to above), there are too many touchy-feely types who love to be politically correct, and a group such as SIOE are going to be branded racists, because, for some odd reason we can’t quite fathom, Islam is a race when it suits people to call it such, so to be wary of the religion that is Islam and campaign for it to be kept in its place is racism.
No, it’s not: it’s a gesture against Islamofascism, and, by extension, other forms of religiofascism.
And it has to be said some Muslims in the UK (and, I believe, more so in the USA) get on with their lives, don’t moan about the customs of the West, don’t have any desire for a worldwide ummah and even have the odd drink – albeit that it’s against their religion. I suspect, too, that the Danish cartoons have upset some more than others.
But secularists have complained for a long time about more than just (in the UK’s case) an established church and Christian privileges, notably since other “faiths” have begun to impinge on our lives. Islam, with its built-in misogyny and homophobia, is one such, and its excesses should be stamped on.
Let’s hope SIOE can gain the confidence of the public – and not just the Daily Mail readers and their ilk. If they are truly nonracist, it will shine through.