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Sunday, 6 September 2009

Don’t be a prat, Boris!

“Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has urged non-Muslims to fast for a day during Ramadan and then to break their fast at a mosque to improve their understanding of Islam,” The Times (London) tells us this weekend.

Oh, yes? More ingratiating, appeasing nonsense from grubby politicians who are after the Muslim vote?

It’s so easy to like good old Boris Johnson. He has that floppy-haired geniality about him, and has committed one or two gaffes in his time as an MP (before he was Mayor of London) that tended to endear him to us rather than alienate him. A sort of likable oaf – that sort of image.

Like his predecessor, Ken Livingstone (who, like Johnson, has done stints on comedy panel shows such as Have I Got News For You), he often gets referred to by his first name. He’s Boris, not Johnson.

But we mustn’t forget that he’s a politician, and, to a large extent, politicians are grubby people who lie and cheat and will stop at nothing to push themselves up the career ladder. Bugger public service, unless it just happens to coincide with my ambitions and greed for power (and, of course, a generous, easy-to-abuse expenses package).

Boris – er, Johnson – thinks that, because some Muslims are trying to fit in with the host culture (no more than we’d expect), we ought to go to a mosque, learn more about their religion and even fast for a day during Ramadan.

But why the hell should we? If you’re studying religions, including Islam, that’s one thing, but why should we wish to dip our toe into this hideous belief system any more than, say, chomp on a thin biscuit and try to believe we’re eating bits of Jesus?

Johnson oozed, “There are valuable lessons people of all backgrounds can learn from Islam, such as the importance of community spirit, family ties, compassion and helping those less fortunate, all of which lie at the heart of the teachings of Ramadan.”

Last time I looked community spirit was thriving in other religions and among those of no religion, Mr Johnson, as were compassion and service to others.

The Times cites the Home Office Islamic Network, which

says that non-Muslims should consider fasting for a day and also asks non-Muslims to be sensitive when eating lunch near a Muslim who is fasting. In Personnel Today magazine, Rachel Krys, of the Employers’ Forum on Belief, writes: “Something as simple as not having biscuits at a team meeting would demonstrate sensitivity to what Muslim colleagues are doing.”

Bollocks, Ms Krys! If they don’t want to see people eat, they can decline to take part in the meeting, and suffer the consequences if their boss tells them they must be there.

What is it about bloody Islam that we should all be expected to bow down to it and observe its ways if there are Muslims close by? What comes next? Sharia courts? Oh, I was forgetting: we already have those.

Perhaps barbarically slaughtered meat forced on non-Muslims? Oh, I was forgetting: there’s already evidence of that – and, of course, it’s set to continue, along with equally barbaric slaughter to appease orthodox Jews.

So no, Mr Johnson and Ms Krys, we must not keep bowing down to demands that we accept their “faith”. There should be no place for “faith” in the public square, unless it’s in the form of reasoned discussion. We’ve seen what a mess it can make of the world.

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