Monday, March 07, 2005

Democracy for some 

Muslim community flexes its political muscle in Great Britain. Nothing wrong with that in principle - British citizens of Muslim faith have as much right as any other Britons to be involved in their country's political life - but this particular instance is quite concerning:

"Islamic leaders have instructed Muslims to vote against Labour in nearly 40 marginal constituencies in protest at the war in Iraq and the government’s detention policy.

"They have targeted seats with a large number of Asian voters including those held by Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, in Blackburn, Margaret Beckett, the environment secretary, in Derby South and Stephen Timms, the energy minister, in East Ham...

"The plan to inflict maximum embarrassment on Labour was agreed last week at a meeting of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB).

"Members hope that by voting tactically they will cut Labour’s majority at the general election without allowing the Conservatives to make significant gains.

"Muslim leaders are determined to give Tony Blair a bloody nose over the war in Iraq and the introduction of anti-terrorist legislation which, they claim, unfairly discriminates against members of their community."
Two ironies: the anti-terrorism legislation and enforcement aside, the great majority of British Muslims are not Arabs but actually come from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, as well as East Africa, yet that does not stop them about complaining about the liberation of Iraq. I wonder how British Iraqis are feeling about all this?

Secondly, isn't it funny that the British Muslim establishment wants to punish Tony Blair, through a democratic vote, precisely for his role in ensuring that their Muslim brothers (and sisters) in Iraq were actually given a chance to have a democratic vote of their own for the first time in half a century.


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