Occasional reflections on Life, the World, and Mathematics

Birmingham


A “terrorism expert” on Fox News in the US has raised eyebrows on both sides of the Atlantic by informing his viewers that

in Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in. And parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire.

This is, of course, well known, and was first brought fleetingly to public attention by the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr in his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail. As some people have forgotten, in his role as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (based in Brighton, I believe) Dr King attempted to open the totally Muslim city of Birmingham to Christians, by staging a nonviolent march. After his arrest by the Muslim religious police (who actually beat and actually wounded him seriously) he penned these stirring words:

I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the view which argues against “outsiders coming in.”[…] I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. […] I cannot sit idly by […] and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

I am offering my services to Fox News, to appear as a history expert and discuss this neglected background to the current crisis in Birmingham.

It is perhaps to the credit of “expert” Steve Emerson that his organisation has posted the transcript of this interview, together with a sort-of-apology:

I have clearly made a terrible error for which I am deeply sorry. My comments about Birmingham were totally in error[. …] I do not intend to justify or mitigate my mistake by stating that I had relied on other sources because I should have been much more careful.

There are several more sentences in the same vein, followed by a non sequitur offer of a donation to Birmingham Children’s Hospital. While I appreciate his refusal to “justify or mitigate”, I think in this case an exposition of his sources would be informative, or at least entertaining. But these think tanks are not so much scholarly organisations as conspiratorial cells, and unless we take him to Guantanamo we’ll never get the names of his contacts.

I guess he’s standing by the London comments. I think this is a real opening for Labour, if the government is cutting housing assistance but still funding the Muslim religious police. And he hasn’t yet apologised for neglecting Dr King’s contributions to intercommunal understanding in Birmingham.

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