Campaign to stop two US bloggers joining EDL rally


1:21 pm - June 21st 2013

by Sunny Hundal    


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The anti-fascist campaign group Hope Not Hate has started a petition to stop two American bloggers from being given permission to enter the UK.

A letter to the Home Secretary Theresa May focuses on Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. It says:

Dear Home Secretary,

We are writing to urge you to use the powers, at your disposal, to stop Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from entering the country in order to speak at an English Defence League demonstration in Woolwich on Saturday 29th June. We believe that their ultimate objective is to incite hatred against all Muslims and the consequences of their very presence in the UK will give encouragement to racists and extremists, who seek to use the awful murder of Drummer Lee Rigby to further their hateful agenda.

It alleges that an organisation set up by Geller and Spencer ran ads on buses calling Muslims “savages”.

The letter by Hope Not Hate says that in a democracy “there have to be limits on people abusing these freedoms to incite hatred” – and adds that they believe Geller and Spencer are seeking to do just that.

HnH have also published two profile pieces on Pamela Geller and on Robert Spencer summarising their backgrounds and campaigns.

To sign the petition to Theresa May to ban Geller and Spencer click here.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Looks like a version of ‘prior restraint’ to me.

The thing to do would be to let these arseholes in, monitor what they say in public and then – if their words genuinely meet the criteria – arrest them, charge them and prosecute them.

You are aware this is the sort of fight Pam Geller loves aren’t you?
It should be noted there was quite the hoo-ha regarding those subway and bus ads, which basically allowed her to successfully play the role of free speech martyr, and the main result was those ads still running anyway.

3. So Much For Subtlety

It alleges that an organisation set up by Geller and Spencer ran ads on buses calling Muslims “savages”.

No they did not. They called people who carried out terrorist attacks savages. Which they are.

The letter by Hope Not Hate says that in a democracy “there have to be limits on people abusing these freedoms to incite hatred” – and adds that they believe Geller and Spencer are seeking to do just that.

So Islamist would-be mass murderers, fine, two peaceful people who have never hurt anyone, not fine? Strange set of priorities. How about they campaign to get rid of Abu Qatada or something constructive? Britain is not going to go up in flames because two rather dull self dramatists visit these shores.

Wot the Judge and Cylux say.

Very uncomfortable with limiting speech before we’ve heard it. Doesn’t LibCon complain when this happens to lefties?

Who else have they tried to stop entering the UK?

6. Telly Savalalalalas

A couple of Zionist headers. Of course Zionism and fascism have a common interest in promoting Islamaphobia and themselves as the bulwark against it. In the final analysis Zionism and Islamism are in fact identical being sectarian political movements that have hijacked a religion and who both use terroristic violence to attain their ends.

7. Richard Carey

It is disappointing to see Lib Con supporting attempts to shut down freedom of speech. This shows the perniciousness of ‘incitement to hatred’ laws, which are only ever selectively enforced. If Geller and Spencer can be banned, then Hope not Hate can be banned for the exact same reason.

8. Richard Carey

Interesting debate here including Robert Spencer from BBC Asian Radio

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b02x9r5j/Nihal_Pamela_Geller_and_Robert_Spencer_visit_the_UK/

“The letter by Hope Not Hate says that in a democracy “there have to be limits on people abusing these freedoms to incite hatred””

There are. Incitement to violence is a criminal offence.

Other than that of course free speech is free speech. And free speech for me but not for thee ain’t.

10. fuck stats

@3.
Yes they did you fucking tory nazi

Hope Not Hate have given me great support in the past but this is an issue we have to disagree on. I say give ‘em enough rope.

@ 5.

There are many including Louis Farrakhan, Fred Phelps (Westboro Baptist Church) and David Duke to name three.#

13. Charlieman

I do not agree with no platform policies and do not feel that there is sufficient evidence to assume incitement to hatred by this duo. Others may disagree so it is worth considering more utilitarian arguments.

@2. Cylux: “You are aware this is the sort of fight Pam Geller loves aren’t you?”

Cylux sets up a good starting position. Pamela Geller is pretty much unknown in the UK outside observers/sympathisers of the US right. I doubt whether many EDL supporters have heard of her. Speeches from Geller and Spencer are not the motivation for this invitation; the intent is to stir a response from Hope Not Hate.

An immigration ban for Geller and Spencer is the response sought by EDL leadership. It saves them the cost of importing their guests. It spares them the embarrassment of exposing their politically more sophisticated visitors to the EDL rabble.

14. Shatterface

Why don’t you just run an ad campaign on their behalf – which, in effect – is precisely what you are doing?

Nobody would have even heard of these fuckers if you didn’t give them so much publicity.

It is disappointing to see Lib Con supporting attempts to shut down freedom of speech

I take it you are new here because they’ve promoted many, many, censorship causes.

Sunny Hundal, Liberal Conspiracy, February 6th 2011:

“Cameron says:

‘We must ban preachers of hate from coming to our countries. We must also proscribe organisations that incite terrorism against people at home and abroad.’

I’ve always been for having a consistent approach on this issue. Either you ban people who preach any form of hatred – from homophobia to religious segregation – or you only ban those that say things that would be illegal under our laws. I prefer the latter approach, because I believe that people should be allowed to make up their own minds on issues.”

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/02/06/there-problems-with-david-camerons-speech-on-multiculturalism/

Hypocrite.

16. Charlieman

@15. Lamia concludes: “Hypocrite.”

And Sunny wrote (unwisely?): “I’ve always been for having a consistent approach on this issue.”

Lamia (give me space if I am presumptive) approaches the debate from a libertarian position, absolutist on free speech.

Sunny came from the independent liberal left but spouts Ed Balls speak at the moment. I do not know whether Sunny can be “cured”, and I will never defend Ed Balls (or bollocks, in general); however I think that Sunny has done a good job at providing a space for liberal debate.

Sunny provided a space for Lamia to describe him as a “Hypocrite”.

With regard to those bus ads – I don’t think either Nick Lowles or SMFS quite has it right here. I think the truth is somewhere between the two – the sign (presumably deliberately) lends itself to a range of readings. Although Nick Lowles’ performance on that BBC interview has been criticised by some, I thought he did a reasonable job at explaining that.

I very much agree with Tim Worstall (9) and also with Sunny Hundal (quoted by Lamia, 15) even if there seems some inconsistency now.

Having just heard Spencer via that link Richard Carey provides (8) I think he is disingenuous to assert that anyone who has read him with an open mind will concede that he is only against bad practices, groups and organisations, and is generally supportive of more liberal Muslims. He appears suspicious not only of someone like Qasim Rashid but also of the Council of ex-Muslims’ forum.

“CEMB is just as bad or worse as those Islamic supremacists they purport to reject. They further the baseless defamation and smearing of counter-jihad groups and individuals as “far right nationalists,” engaging lustily in bullying and intimidation of their own while decrying it when supposedly directed to them; dissemble about the roots of various Islamic supremacist practices within Islam (cf. the foundations of taqiyya in Qur’an 3:28 and the demur linked above); propagate jihadist propaganda against Israel (cf. Namazie’s furthering of fictions invented by murderous Hamas propagandists); and more. In short, they are worse than useless, and are useful tools of the Islamic supremacists they ostensibly oppose.”

This is a seriously strange take on the CEMB Forum! They are actually (though individuals’ positions will differ within the forum) pretty tough on Islam and on extremist Muslims. They cannot reveal their true identities generally. I have no problem with groups like them or others who campaign against Muslim extremists or simply against those with very illiberal views. I sympathise with Nick Lowles because it is difficult to pin down quickly what makes Spencer different from say Maryam Namazie (as someone who is tougher than me on these issues).

18. roger braines

” it alleges that an organisation set up by Geller and Spencer ran ads on buses calling Muslims “savages”.”
shouldn’t you correct this allegation ?
islam and truth seems incompatible it seems. islam always the victim… what a joke.

“Lamia (give me space if I am presumptive) approaches the debate from a libertarian position, absolutist on free speech.”

With respect, you are presumptive. I am not an absolutist on free speech. I support banning foreign citizens who have a track record in advocating violence. However, neither Geller nor Spencer have ever advocated violence, while Sunny has previously supported the ‘right’ of preachers who have indeed done so to enter the country.

“Sunny provided a space for Lamia to describe him as a “Hypocrite”.”

And still Sunny is a hypocrite on this matter. And as so often, he has failed to defend his inconsistent position. Because he can’t. He defends the free speech ‘rights’ of violent hate preachers while opposing those of non-violent (however objectionable otherwise) anti-jihadists. Whether in libertarian or more authoritarian terms, he is a fraud.

20. John Reid

Not liking Islam is not racism and extremism,,maybe ethey want to stop other Members of the tea party, including syl Sylvian of the New York dolls and mo tucker of The Velvet Underground,

21. So Much For Subtlety

17. Sarah AB

With regard to those bus ads – I don’t think either Nick Lowles or SMFS quite has it right here. I think the truth is somewhere between the two – the sign (presumably deliberately) lends itself to a range of readings.

The adverts said “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” Not once are Muslims mentioned. Jihad is. Now if you want to assert the Jihadis are not a small and unrepresentative minority of Muslims, by all means. I do not think the moderators here would be happy if someone did so. Because the Jihadis are not, we are often told, representative.

“CEMB is just as bad or worse as those Islamic supremacists they purport to reject. They further the baseless defamation and smearing of counter-jihad groups and individuals as “far right nationalists,” engaging lustily in bullying and intimidation of their own while decrying it when supposedly directed to them;

Well it is absurd to say that people who do not kill are as bad as people who do, but as far as the incipent Stalinism of their behaviour, I think he has a point.

SMFS – I’m pasting below a comment I made on this site about this same issue (with a link to the the context of the thread).

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/09/26/watch-police-arrest-mona-eltahawy-for-defacing-racist-poster-in-ny/

“Here’s one interesting piece Shrugged (is your first name Atlas?!)

http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/109447/pamela-gellers-new-ad-is-actually-anti-israel

It’s not precisely an answer to your question maybe, so I’ll add that the poster seems to imply that all those who might be seen as opposed to Israel (in some sense) are savages, that Palestinians who have objections to Israel’s policies are all savages, potentially. Does it mean Israel per se or Israel’s current government?

Muslims might argue that to use ‘jihad’ as a synonym for purely violent struggle distorts that word’s meaning, promoting violent stereotypes of Islam/Muslims. And it’s more problematic when used in this particular inflammatory context. ‘Savage’ to me has racial connotations – it makes me think in terms of a whole people rather than just individuals in the way a word like ‘thugs’ or ‘bullies’ might.

Of course some acts against Israel could perfectly well be described as ‘savage’ – eg murder of Fogel family.

And as the author of the linked post says – you certainly don’t have to be anti-israel to dislike the ads.”

@7

“It is disappointing to see Lib Con supporting attempts to shut down freedom of speech”.

A typical liberal position, if you don’t mind me saying. They’d shut you down quick enough. Don’t think they won’t.

I don’t really have a problem with banning foreign nutcases from the UK. That’s quite illiberal I know.
The thing is that I don’t trust British Home Secretaries judgement either.

Geller and Spencer sound like a couple of idiots, so maybe they should be kept out.

Hope not Hate are rubbish in my opinion.

They’re mindless attention seeking bigots and that is how they will come across. Why give them the satisfaction of spurious “martyrdom”?

26. Churm Rincewind

@ SFMS (21)

As you must surely know, “jihad” has a range of meanings in Islamic theology, including the admonition to Muslims to “struggle” to follow God’s teachings. Which is not much different from the admonitions of other religions.

But you seem to use the term in only one, specific, and contentious sense?

27. So Much For Subtlety

22. Sarah AB

It’s not precisely an answer to your question maybe, so I’ll add that the poster seems to imply that all those who might be seen as opposed to Israel (in some sense) are savages, that Palestinians who have objections to Israel’s policies are all savages, potentially. Does it mean Israel per se or Israel’s current government?

I am not sure if it does. It does say to support Israel in a war. If Palestinians opposed Israel peacefully, as opposed to smashing little children’s heads against walls like that well known Lebanese hero Samir Kuntar did, then it would not be covered by this claim. But that is my opinion.

However even if true, that is rude about Palestinians. But it is hardly rude about all Muslims.

Muslims might argue that to use ‘jihad’ as a synonym for purely violent struggle distorts that word’s meaning, promoting violent stereotypes of Islam/Muslims.

They might, but as a general rule it is only Western liberals who try this lame line. Jihad is a well defined word. You do not often get Muslims, and especially Muslims talking to other Muslims, who try this line.

And it’s more problematic when used in this particular inflammatory context. ‘Savage’ to me has racial connotations – it makes me think in terms of a whole people rather than just individuals in the way a word like ‘thugs’ or ‘bullies’ might.

Then the problem is probably with the reader, not with the advert. Many terrorists are savage. I do not see what is wrong with saying that. There is hardly any difference in racial terms between most Israeli Jews (who are often of Arab origin) and the Palestinians.

Churm Rincewind

As you must surely know, “jihad” has a range of meanings in Islamic theology, including the admonition to Muslims to “struggle” to follow God’s teachings. Which is not much different from the admonitions of other religions.

Sure. In the same way that we use Crusade in a variety of ways. However both words have one main clear meaning. Which is often used in the Muslim world – in its main and direct meaning of violence to overthrow non-Muslim governments and impose Islamic law. Unlike Crusader.

But you seem to use the term in only one, specific, and contentious sense?

It is not remotely contentious. As can be seen by the way that it is used every single day. I doubt you could even find me a single use in the Arab world this week of the word that did not mean that one specific use. Whereas I could find dozens where it did. But I am not using it. Geller did. She may have used it incorrectly. It does not matter. As her use was not racist even if it was not theologically correct. And of course it was.

28. Just Visiting

Excellent article by Patrick Hayes. The befuddled, left-wing brain awash with contradictions and hypocrisy, desperately trying to make 2 and 2 add up to 5 is such easy meat, though. It’s just shooting fish in a barrel.

http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/13736/

30. Richard Carey

Well congratulations to “Liberal” Conspiracy and “Hope Not Hate”. The British government has banned Spencer and Geller. Personally I find it sickening.

31. John Reid

Just noticed 10 calling SMfS, a f@@king idiot, 10′ you are a left wing fascist

Relax, everyone. What is sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander. It’s pretty decent of the political left to create all these legal precedents whereby the government can censor anyone and anything.

Once we get Mrs Thatcher mark 2 in power — and remember nobody expected mark 1 — then just wait and watch!

By the way, Mr Hundal, you’re already on the list to be tried for “hate”. Nice of you to volunteer. You won’t mind if we lock you in a cell with a gay rapist EDL supporter, no?


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