No place for hate merchants

GREATER Manchester Metro Mayor Andy Burnham’s announcement of last night’s Albert Square vigil for the city’s people after Monday’s terrorist attack encapsulates a resistance spirit telling Islamic State (Isis) that it won’t win.

The response of Mancunians of all backgrounds to the atrocity that hit their city was exemplary.

Accounts continue to emerge of heroic behaviour by emergency services, medical staff listed off but coming to work, taxi drivers not charging, places of worship opening to offer food and friendship and, above all, people emphasising their unity and determination to work together.

The Isis death cult is obsessed with what it calls a clash of civilisations.

It parades itself as representing the world’s Muslim communities, despite those communities overwhelmingly rejecting its inhuman creed, and projects an ongoing global conflict that will culminate in its sovereignty over the entire world.

Its very name is a festering insult to tens of millions of Muslims across the globe who proclaim their commitment to a religion of peace and who understand slaughter and maiming of innocent civilians as a perversion of their faith.

Hundreds of mosques involved themselves recently in registering people to vote before Monday’s cut-off date, knowing that this puts them at odds with Isis which rejects the concept of democracy.

The majority of Isis victims have been Muslims, especially in Iraq and Syria, where the cult, along with its al-Qaida partners in crime, has occupied swathes of territory, imposed its obscurantist and repressive ideology and slaughtered those it designates non-believers.

Our media reacts angrily when Isis followers in Britain, Belgium, France, Germany and other European states perpetrate acts of barbarism such as that directed at children and young people attending the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

While it is natural to empathise with the populations of countries our citizens visit regularly, there is no excuse for an almost offhand attitude to ongoing slaughter inflicted on people in the Middle East and Africa.

Nor should the role of invading Western nations or their collaborators in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and elsewhere who have justified, armed and supported the Isis and al-Qaida hate merchants be ignored.

Incitement to hatred and division is not the sole preserve of Isis. Their “clash of civilisations” claptrap has been mirrored in some of Britain’s media.

Daily Mail online columnist Katie Hopkins takes delight in being provocative, but her latest tweet, “22 dead — number rising,” which carried the punchline, “We need a final solution,” must have consequences.

Hopkins’s subsequent amendment of “final solution” to “true solution,” claiming a typo, is unconvincing. No-one can be in the dark about the meaning or significance of her demand for a “final solution.”

Just as The Sun was driven by public opinion to sack Kelvin McKenzie — serial defamer of Liverpool and its people who made racist comments about Everton footballer Ross Barkley — so the Mail should ditch Hopkins.

The paper needs no reminder of its 1930s backing for Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts when they were terrorising Jewish communities in mimicry of their nazi heroes in Germany.

The media has a responsibility to the society it purports to serve.

Editors cannot pass off their journalists’ racism, Islamophobia, anti-semitism or any other hate-crime speech as freedom of expression to be accepted or ignored by their audience.

Lives are at stake, as is the future of a free and open society in which our people’s infinite variety is welcomed and celebrated rather than feared and despised.

This article appeared in The Morning Star, Wednesday 24th May 2017

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