Yesterday we began looking at Owen Jones, who is famous in Britain but whose celebrity, thankfully, hasn’t yet spread to North American shores. Jones, as we noted, is a gay socialist – and a strong defender of Islam. How strong? Consider this.
In a 2012 column, he called anti-Muslim prejudice “a European pandemic” and “the most widespread – and most acceptable – form of bigotry of our times.” This in a time, note well, when Islamic countries execute people for being gay or apostates, when jihadist groups slaughter Christians and Jews, and when women are treated as the property of men throughout the Muslim world. In one article he cited a poll result showing that “45 per cent of Britons agreed that ‘there are too many Muslims’ in Britain. Imagine if nearly half the population admitted to believing that ‘there are too many Jews’ in Britain: how loud would our alarm be?”
He didn’t mention, of course, that the number of Jews in Britain is declining rapidly because Muslim Jew-bashing is leading them to migrate to places like the U.S , Australia, and Israel. Nor did he acknowledge other polls showing that a majority of British Muslims want sharia law in the UK and think homosexuality should be illegal. Jones has repeatedly railed against European “Islamophobia” – but has never faced up to the fact that there are very good reasons why Europeans are concerned about Islam and not, say, about Hinduism or Buddhism.
In July of last year, an ex-Muslim named Saif Rahman tweeted an image to Jones. It showed a Koran with an overlay of rainbow colors – signifying, of course, gay rights. Rahman invited Jones to retweet the image. Jones refused, “because I think this is self evidently trying to provoke [rather] than win people over to LGBT rights.” In reply, Rahman asked: “why do you think it would provoke anyone? And if so, do you accept we have a serious problem?” Jones wouldn’t go there: “I’m done with people only mentioning LGBT rights when Islam is involved.”
Other critics of Islamic homophobia then joined the discussion, supporting Rahman and challenging Jones: “So the rights, persecution, murder of gays in the Muslim world mean NOTHING?” one of them asked. Jones, instead of addressing this deadly serious subject, rejected the right of straight people to lecture him about homophobia: “This [is] like men lecturing women about feminism or white people lecturing black people about racism.” One critic extended an invitation to Jones: “Climb out of your identity-based politics and start thinking in terms of reason, argument, actual human rights.” But Jones refused the invitation.
As one observer commented, Jones uses the cover of identity politics and “broad-minded respect for other cultures” to avoid “criticising even the most regressive elements of another minority group. In his own mind, it is not his business to do so.” Instead, “he declares his unconditional and indiscriminate solidarity with all Muslims, irrespective of how hostile a given individual’s views and values may be to his own. And, consequently, he finds himself objectively defending the Islamic religious right from the pressures of progress at the expense of those they victimise.” What, then, is Jones saying, in effect, to gay Muslims? It’s simple: “gay liberation for me, but not for thee.”
All this was mere preamble, however, to Jones’s response to the jihadist mass murder in June at the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando, which gained him more attention than he’d ever received before. Tune in tomorrow.