The Telegraph published a disgraceful conspiracy theory about Jeremy Corbyn on 6 June.
Defending the Conservative Party against allegations of Islamophobia, journalist Ed Husain put the blame for the party’s racism squarely at Corbyn’s feet. In itself, that’s not extraordinary. Because the UK’s anti-Corbyn media blames the Labour leader for everything.
But Husain’s theory on Corbyn’s culpability for Tory Islamophobia is shocking. And it marks a whole new low for the publisher.
According [paywall] to Husain, the Conservative Party doesn’t have a problem with Islamophobia. Instead, Husain suggests that Corbyn, a “sinister Marxist”, is behind accusations of issues in the party. Husain says the Labour leader has consulted the “Soviet Union’s playbook of diversionary tactics” and got people all in a bother about a non-existent Islamophobia problem in the Conservative Party to distract from his own party’s alleged issues with antisemitism.
But this argument doesn’t stand up. Because the Conservative Muslim Forum, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), and over 350 mosques have recently called for an official inquiry into Islamophobia within the Conservative Party.
It gets worse. Husain alleges [paywall] that there are “darker” motives at play than Corbyn’s mere hope for distraction. Because he suggests the Muslim groups which think there is Islamophobia in the Conservative Party are filled with ‘bad Muslims’. And he claims Corbyn has links with some of these bad Muslims in the UK, and further links with even worse Muslims outside the UK. So Husain suggests that, together with his bad Muslim cronies, Corbyn is trying to ‘pit’ Muslims against Jews.
One of the main groups Husain criticises in his article is the MCB. He says it’s not representative of British Muslims. But the MCB represents 500 Muslim organisations in the UK. And rather than being filled with extremist sympathisers, as Husain suggests, the MCB says it has:
clearly and consistently condemned violence perpetrated by people who claim to do this in the name of our religion.
But Husain’s fiction doesn’t end there either. He alleges [paywall] that Corbyn is not just playing one religious group off another solely to gain votes. He also argues that Corbyn’s Labour is now filled with Islamists, who entered in Momentum’s midst. And he says the leftists and Islamists have something in common. Husain claims they share the same ideology of:
opposing the West, seeking to destroy Israel and to create Islamist governments across the Middle East.
Clearly, Husain’s never been to a Momentum gathering:
If you don't want a Tory candidate who thinks being gay is immoral to represent the heart of London's gay community, please join us on Saturday at 10.30am >> https://t.co/gUnYOCfONl #Unseat pic.twitter.com/6utkgSDVqN
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) April 16, 2018
There are numerous holes in Husain’s theory besides the obvious. Firstly, he essentially dismisses the Conservatives’ problem with Islamophobia. But he treats Labour’s issues with antisemitism as absolute gospel. Both, however, are based on allegations that merit proper investigation.
Essentially, Husain condemns the discrimination of one group of people based on their religion, while dismissing the discrimination of another group almost entirely. And doing so makes it appear that the Telegraph journalist is using the issue of prejudice for political ends – to defend his preferred party. That’s exactly what he criticises Corbyn for.
Meanwhile, Husain accuses [paywall] the Labour leader of viewing sections of the public “as monolithic blocs of votes” in his cynical vote-winning game. But then he lumps “Jews and Israel” together when talking about Corbyn’s alleged hostility. “Jews and Israel” are not a monolith either, though. And criticisms of one do not equate to hostility to the other.
Overall, Husain’s article appears to have one goal: to pit Muslims against the Labour Party – or at least to pit what he considers the ‘good’ Muslims against it. As well as writing for the Telegraph, Husain is a former senior adviser and writer at the Tony Blair Institute. Most will remember that, as prime minster, Blair was responsible for about a million deaths of Muslim people, including numerous children.
No wonder Husain didn’t bring that up in his assault on the current Labour leader. A leader that, for the record, Blair appears to despise.
– Join The Canary if you appreciate the work we do.
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.