Saturday, 25 October 2008

Nick Clegg and THAT letter

. I am a little surprised at myself for not commenting on this before; I have been following the debate on Liberal Democrat Voice and did contribute. Basically, the story revolves around an event this weekend in favour of Global Peace and Unity which all sounds jolly nice until you take a gander at the speakers which is what Harry's Place did and they turned-up some rather 'rum coves' among the speakers. It's list of the speakers drags up this quote from Sheikh Yasir Qadi (listed on the GPU's site as a speaker);

"All of these Polish Jews which Hitler was supposedly trying to exterminate, that’s another point, by the way, Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews. There are a number of books out on this written by Christians, you should read them. The Hoax of the Holocaust, I advise you to read this book and write this down, the Hoax of the Holocaust, a very good book. All of this is false propaganda and I know it sounds so far-fetched, but read it. The evidences [sic] are very strong. And they’re talking about newspaper articles, clippings, everything and look up yourself what Hitler really wanted to do. We’re not defending Hitler, by the way, but the Jews, the way that they portray him, also is not correct."

Pretty unpleasant stuff; Qadi has a right to say what he pleases but surely is it not wrong that a Liberal Democrat leader should defend such a man? However, this is exactly what Clegg did in a letter to the think-tank Policy Exchange by saying;

"The accuracy of the allegations is variable, with a notable lack of evidence to support many of the claims."

Unfortunately, I see stacks of quotes on Harry's Place and I see a tonne more sourced articles in the comments section of a blog on the same issue on Socialist Unity. Feeling brave I decided to investigate the above quote using the power of Google and found numerous sources attributing the quote to Qadi. Certainly too many to ignore and dismiss. Let's leave this debate for a second and go back to Monday night where I was working while a colleague got a knife pulled on them. They were invited into a house; were asked if they were Muslim and answered no, a man then went to the kitchen to fetch a 'large knife'.

Nothing makes that kind of behaviour any more defensible than that of your worst BNP/NF inspired skinhead. Bigotry and discrimination isn't acceptable or worthy of defence no matter who is doing it; this rounded approach to anti-racism is something that the left by-and-large ignores. I think it is perfectly acceptable that Nick and the Liberal Democrats have a presence at this event but we have to be politically distant from people like Qadi, not automatically leaping to their defence in the name of a spurious 'peace and unity'.

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