Media a ‘platform for racists’ in cartoon row, says Ken

MayorThe Mayor of London Ken Livingstone spoke at a press conference in City Hall today alongside Muslim leaders and urged that the views of mainstream Islam be heard in the current debate about the publication of the Danish cartoons that have caused offence around the Muslim world.

The press conference was called in support of this Saturday’s rally ‘United against Incitement and Islamophobia’, the aim of which is to explain the views of the mainstream Muslim community in condemning the publication of the Islamophobic cartoons, and to dissociate the mainstream Muslim community from the tiny minority of extremists who have been given media coverage out of all proportion to their numbers.

The Mayor said: “I am supporting this event because, unlike some of the BBC’s coverage, it will allow the views of the mainstream Muslim community to be properly heard. Too many media outlets have given excessive weight to the fringes of this argument including giving a platform to racists.

“The publication of these cartoons was a deliberate and gratuitous insult to the Muslim community, designed to destroy trust and understanding. Had such images, bordering on racist, been used to portray other groups they would rightly have been condemned as racist or anti-Semitic.

“There is no excuse for breaking the law and anyone who does so should and will face the prospect of prosecution, but there is no getting away from the fact that this whole episode has allowed much of Europe’s media to engage in an orgy of Islamophobia. The only beneficiaries will be the racists and Al Qaeda. It should stop now.”

Speakers at today’s press conference were: Anas Altikriti, Muslim Association of Britain; Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London; Dr Daud Abdullah, Muslim Council of Britain; Habibur Rahman, Islamic Forum Europe; Intissar Khreeji, Federation of Societies of Islamic Students.

GLA press release, 10 February 2006

See also “Mayor supporting pro-Islam rally”, BBC News, 9 February 2006

For details of Saturday’s rally, see MABonline

Meanwhile, over at Harry’s Place, the inimitable David T utilises the cartoons issue to launch another frothing-at-the-mouth attack on the Mayor’s bloc with Islamofascism:

“The lesson of this affair KEN LIVINGSTONE is that if you’re really interested in representing your Muslim constituents well KEN LIVINGSTONE is not to spend all your time cultivating reactionary religious figures and building up far right theocratic political outfits like the Muslim Brotherhood. Because, KEN LIVINGSTONE, it isn’t a strategy which will work. It will make you look like a panderer to religious reaction, both among Muslims and non Muslims in the United Kingdom who – not being stupid – can spot a politician on the make from miles off.”

Calm down, David, calm down. You’ll do yourself an injury.