Sunday, July 09, 2006

My trip to Ally Pally

On Friday 7 July, the anniversary of the London suicide murders, and on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July, London’s Alexandra Palace played host to Islam Expo, an attempt to “promote dialogue and understanding”. Details of the exhibition, and our efforts to counter this shameless propaganda are given in Esmerelda’s post here at the New English Review.

As explained in that post, this anti-Islam-Expo blog was set up and a flyer drafted, advising any potential visitor of some basic facts about the expansionist and totalitarian ideology of Islam and the depraved and violent character of its founder, Mohammed.

Together with Esmerelda and others involved in the campaign, I left flyers in various places in north and central London. Yesterday, I decided to pay a visit to Alexandra Palace in order to get a feel for the kind of people who were attending the exhibition. The entrance fee is £20, and while I will happily spend £20 and more going to an art exhibition, I did not wish this taqiyya fest to get a penny of my hard-earned cash. Fortunately, this was not necessary.

I dressed in my usual trousers and short sleeved top. But I stuck out like the proverbial sore thumb. I was very nearly the only white person there, and very nearly the only unveiled woman. The veil was usually a headscarf, worn with a shalwar kameez, but there were quite a lot of chadors and niqabs. Even if you assume that the handful of other unveiled women were non-Muslim, which may not be the case, it is fair to conclude that the women attending the exhibition were nearly all Muslim, and therefore that the men who accompanied them were also Muslim.

This exhibition was intended to build bridges between Muslims and non-Muslims. Insofar as there were only a handful of non-Muslims there, it failed to do this. This was a Saturday, so it clashed neither with work, nor with Sunday’s World Cup Final. Infidels simply stayed away in droves.

Islam being the equal opportunities religion that it is, the men did not feel obliged to wear the “portable seclusion”, as useful idiot feminists have termed the hijab. Some men wore the typical Islamic garb, more suited to the North West Frontier than to north London, but most wore Western clothes. There were lots of men dressed in natty jeans and T-shirts with trailing black ghosts pushing prams. Particularly unpleasant was the sight of a black ghost struggling to push a pram up the long steep hill leading from the car park to the Palace, completely unaided by her keeper – sorry – husband, who was swaggering ahead of her. I pointedly offered to help, but she said she could manage, though she was clearly out of breath.

My first impression on reaching the exhibition centre was of a strong police presence. I was then struck by how quiet and subdued it all seemed. I had arrived fairly late in the day – around 3pm, but the exhibition was scheduled to finish only at 6pm, with a concert at 7pm. One might have thought that a fair number of people would be queuing to get in. However, as you can see from the picture in the New English Review post, only a handful of people were getting tickets.

Visitors – I hate the word “attendees”, don’t you? – had to register. I have never had to do this at an exhibition, and I am not sure what the purpose of this was.

Although it was a warm, pleasant day, and although the grounds of Alexandra Palace and the views over London are spectacular, few were milling about outside.

I wanted to see as much as possible without actually buying a ticket, so, adopting a numb and vague expression, I blundered up to the window of a lecture room and had a good look inside. The room was about one third full. All Muslims, mostly couples or families except for a contingent of men in their twenties. There were no single women. They were all listening attentively to the speaker, whom I did not recognise, unfortunately.

Most of the visitors were young, well under forty. (It’s strange how, as you get older, your definition of “young” becomes more elastic.) I saw handful of men and women in their sixties; the women dressed, as is often the case, less conservatively than many women in their twenties. There were quite a few young children – ten or under – but very few teenagers. All were quiet and well behaved. I did not feel uncomfortable or threatened, but that may be because I am thick skinned.

To summarise, my impression was that the exhibition was not particularly well attended. I may be wrong in this, of course – I am going on what I saw from the outside and through the window. Visitors were almost exclusively Muslim, so it failed as a bridge-building exercise. The atmosphere was quiet and subdued. Overall, a damp squib.

To see the pictures, look at my New English Review piece here.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

FascismExpo

The Mayor's office has announced that next year's Holocaust Memorial Day will be celebrated with an exhibition about Fascism. FascismExpo aims to resolve some of the misunderstandings about Fascism and to open up a dialogue between Fascists and the victims of Fascist violence. The exhibition will be the UK's largest Fascist cultural event since Mosley's Earl's Court rally in 1939.

A packed programme of lectures, seminars, workshops and debates will focus on Fascism's achievements and its long-term beneficial impact on Europe. Former concentration camp inmates, allied prisoners of war and survivors of the Guernica bombing will attend, in a spirit of reconciliation and mutual understanding.

A spokesperson for the Mayor said:

It is important that we see Fascism in its wider context. Too much of the
current discourse focuses on Fascism's violent side. Its cultural, artistic
and economic achievements are often ignored. This makes today's Fascists
feel isolated and vulnerable. Holding FascismExpo on Holocaust Memorial Day
sends out a strong message that we want to encourage dialogue between
Fascists and those who, perhaps, distrust them. This is about reaching out
and building bridges. We hope that a number of Jewish people and war veterens
will come along. We are particularly pleased to have a delegation from Guernica
and our surprise guest will be a senior rabbi, who will open the event.

One of the highlights of FascismExpo will be an exhibition of Fascist art and architecture, featuring scale models of Mussolini's EUR and Hitler's proposed capital, Germania.

Confirmed speakers include:

Colin Jordan - "My friend Oswald: the best prime minister Britain never had."
David Irving - "How the Jews benefited from the Holocaust."
Jean-Marie LePen - "Why the Nazi occupation of France wasn't really that bad."
Jorg Haider - "Hitler's economic miracle."
Alessandra Mussolini - "How my grandfather made the trains run on time."

FascismExpo will be held at an exhibition centre in East London - an area which had a large Jewish population and which suffered particularly badly from bombing by Goering's Luftwaffe.

East Ender Nellie Slater, who lost both her parents when her house was bombed, will be one of the VIP guests at the exhibition. She said:

Although I was orphaned by Nazi bombs and my brother died in a POW camp, I think we should forgive the Fascists and try to understand their point of view. I'm really looking forward to FascismExpo.

FascismExpo will take place on the 26th, 27th and 28th of January 2007.

Cat Stevens wheeled out for opening ceremony


The BBC reports an hour or two before the opening ceremony.

Building bridges between Muslims and the wider community is one of the aims of a four-day event in London about the faith, organisers say.
The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) said it wanted to attract a wide range of visitors to IslamExpo.
Mayor Ken Livingstone, Lord Coe and Yusuf Islam - formerly Cat Stevens - will open the event in London, which is expected to attract 40,000 people.
Among those due to speak is former Iraq hostage Norman Kember.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Sun and the Daily Star get the idea.

I ordered my lunch in the cafe today and looked round for a paper to read. The waitress gave me the Daily Star. Not quite my cup of tea, but never mind. Until I read Page 1 which contained an article about the hurt and outrage of relatives of some, at least, of the people killed and maimed on 7 July last year that Azzam Tamimi, who once said he might be prepared carry out a suicide attack himself, is to be one of the first speakers at Islam Expo when it opens on Thursday.

Unfortunately the Daily Star does not give an on-line version of this report. The Sun does but in less detail.

The Sun reports:- A MUSLIM scholar who backs suicide bombers as “martyrs” will speak in London on the eve of a tribute to 7/7 victims.
Palestinian Azzam Tamimi, 51 — who once said he might be prepared carry out a suicide attack in Israel himself — addresses the Islam Expo rally on Thursday.
John Falding, whose partner Anat Rosenberg was a victim, said: “Given what he has said in the past, it is upsetting.”
But yesterday Dr Tamimi insisted: “I have always made a distinction between the right of the Palestinian people to fight the Israeli occupation and the terrorist attacks on London.”

Mr Falding is much more scathing in the Daily Star, saying that even at this short notice Dr Tamimi should be cancelled, and that while he does not have a problem with the innocuous (his words) attractions at the event, these should have been scheduled for later in the year. He is the only family member named but I got the impression that he was not alone in his disquiet.
These are the first references I have found in the National Press on the subject.