Galloway and the Palestinian cause

Here’s a gem of a clip from George Galloway’s radio show. Whether you like him,love him or loathe him you can’t deny his commitment to the Palestinian cause. And he’s great entertainment. Mind you with foils like this….

Given the dreadful level of ignorance around the issue of the Palestinians I do despair.

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Jim Fitzpatrick and the Muslim Wedding

The East London MosqueImage by hugovk via Flickr

So we hear that the Farming Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick has walked out of an Islamic Wedding at the London Muslim Centre because he didn’t agree with the policy of seperating the sexes during part of the ceremony. I’m not sure if he has raised the issue or other parties have flagged it up but he seems hell-bent on distancing himself from the Islamic community in his constituency of Poplar and Canning Town, a community which represents perhaps 30% of the voters.

I had been cobbling together a blog post about this but then reading the press release from Respect I thought to hell with it, they’ve put it so much better! So why not just post it!

Friday 14th August 2009

George Galloway today condemned Government Food Minister Jim Fitzpatrick’s attack on a Muslim wedding as a “disgusting insult, cynically motivated by political opportunism”.

Fitzpatrick issued a press release this week to the East London Advertiser announcing he had refused to enter a Muslim wedding party at the London Muslim Centre to which he had been invited because his wife was asked to go to the section for women only.

“Fitzpatrick must have been a to a hundred segregated weddings, not least in the West of Scotland,” said Galloway. “Only now has he decided to gratuitously insult the family and friends of the bride and groom in the cheap pursuit of Islamophobic votes and as part of the vicious faction fight going on in the local Labour Party.”

Galloway continued: “It is for the bride and groom and their respective families to determine the wedding arrangements in line with their religious commitments and customs. If you don’t want to go to a Muslim wedding, don’t go. But don’t turn up and then carry out a wholly artificial politically motivated stunt.

“I am simply amazed and astounded by this behaviour by a government minister who represents a very substantial Muslim minority in his constituency. I honestly did not think anyone could stoop so low, but Fitzpatrick really has got down in the gutter in his increasingly desperate attempt to hold on to his parliamentary seat.

“And Fitzpatrick has singled out the Islamic Forum of Europe for attack because they have been demonised by the faction Fitzpatrick is supporting in the civil war raging in the Tower Hamlets Labour Party. The (Labour) council leader Lutfur Rahman and his close Muslim colleagues on the council have all been condemned as members of the IFE by their opponents within the Labour Party who are motivated more by career ambitions than any principled difference.

“It is clear that Fitzpatrick’s actions and subsequent statement are not only a desperate and, I am sure, unsuccessful ploy to try to shore up his collapsing support in his constituency but also part of that fight which is tearing the Labour Party apart. I have no doubt this will backfire very badly on him and he will thoroughly deserve it.”

Listening to a debate on this issue on LBC Radio this morning there didn’t seem to be much going on in the minister’s favour. Certainly some of the suggestions that he’ spandering to the right wing by seemingly highlighting the ‘islamisation’ of society deserve some consideration.

We have a Minister with a large muslim minority in his constituency, a large muslim minority we should add. We also have a government, of which he is a Minister that in the eyes of the muslim community is invading and killing muslims in other countries.

Is this event the beginning of the government changing tack and realising that the traditional support they have recieved from muslims in Britain could be coming to an end, and they have to redefine the demographic of their support through the demonisation of the British Islamic community.

Hmm.

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George Galloway and Salma Yaqoob of The Respect Party

It’s always good when political parties set out their stall and the message from MP George Galloway and Salma Yaqoob is especially welcome at this time. A good text and very little I could disagree with and something I could give whole-hearted support to.

I liked it so much I’ve reposted it in full from the Respect website.

Westminster in crisis – it’s time for change
George Galloway MP and Salma Yaqoob

Monday 22nd June 2009

Many who once voted Labour in the hope of a fairer society now feel betrayed. The European elections saw Labour’s vote collapse to just 15%. And there was a shocking breakthrough made by the BNP in the North of England.

Labour is to blame for its own crisis. And it has to take a large share of the responsibility for creating the conditions in which the far right is growing.

Labour loosened the rules that gave licence to greedy bankers to gamble away our jobs and homes.

* Labour failed to protect our public services from wasteful and costly privatisation.
* Labour has overseen growing inequality and a chronic shortage of affordable housing.
* And Labour failed to tackle the scandal of MP’s expenses.

Labour’s failure has helped the BNP win votes in deprived white working class communities. Labour’s determination not to be outflanked by the Tories on questions of race and immigration has created fertile ground for racist arguments to win support.

When mainstream parties treat asylum seekers and immigrants as a criminal threat, it gives credibility to BNP arguments.

When national newspapers treat Muslims as the ‘enemy within’, the BNP feeds off this to spread hatred and division.

There is an alternative that is both practical and popular:

* The state must intervene in the economy to save and create jobs in the same way it saved the banks;
* Investment must be piled into a massive programme of house building;
* Corporate tax loopholes must be closed and the richest 1% taxed more to support the majority of the population through this recession.

Also, we need:

* Sustainability and human need, not greed at the heart of economic policy to tackle climate change;
* A genuinely ethical foreign policy;
* Protection of civil liberties;
* A clean-up of Westminster and Proportional Representation introduced.

There is a common agenda for progressive change in tune with the views of millions of people. Individually we are weak, but united we are strong.

We have strong RESPECT candidates ready for the General Election battle. But where there good Labour MPs who deserve our support we will back them. And where there are good Green Party challengers we will work with them – as we did in the European elections in the North-West and West Midlands. More people need to come forward to ensure there is a real alternative at the ballot box in many more areas.

As we approach the next General Election, all of us who support the values of peace, civil liberties and social justice must work together to deliver the strongest possible message of hope and change.

Link to the post here.