Answering Missionaries

May 9, 2006

James White on Omar Bakri

Filed under: Anti-Islamic/Muslim Polemics,James White — answeringmissionaries @ 11:52 pm

James White is an evangelical Christian apologist, polemicist, author of numerous books and a well-known articulate debator. His latest hobby, unfortunately is Islam bashing, available here in his blog.

Besides a few responses to his comments at islamic-awareness.org, no Muslim, as far as I know, has responded to his tirades. After reading some of the things that White has to say about Islam and Muslims, I decided to address some of his polemics. This will be my first response to White. More will be published in the coming months Inshallah. I hope that other Muslims also check out White's polemics against Islam and submit responses.

When I read the things White has to say about Islam and Muslims on his blog, he came across to me as a rather nasty individual. However, when I later heard White speaking, he came across as a very nice, polite and sober individual. I guess the James White we come across in writings is not reflective of the real James White. So I hope White adapts his writing style and tone towards Muslims to reflect his real personality.

Since White is basically a very nice and polite guy despite the negative impression we get from his writings, I will try my best to respond to his claims in a civil and polite manner as well.

It is also quite unfortunate that James White immediately jumps to the defence of a rather foul mouthed individual who never ceases the oppurtunity to ruthelessly abuse/slander Muslims and their religion using the most gutter type of language imaginable. I won't even bother to name this lowly character. I wonder if James White supports the lowly conduct of his "friend" or is he willing to openly condemn him for being abusive to the extreme?

I begin with a reply to a comment made by James White which gave many British Muslims a good laugh. In a blog entry entitled: Omar Bakri Muhammed on Jihad: Another "Must Read", date: 02/02/2005, White described Omar Bakri as follows (bold added):

"Christianity Today has an important interview with this Islamic authority…"

I wonder who informed White that Bakri was an "Islamic authority"? In fact Bakri is no "authority" on Islam, nor even a respected individual among the Muslim community of the UK. Instead, he is the self-proclaimed head of an extremist organization, having virtually no support and standing among the UK Muslims. Bakri has just about as much "authority" as Eric Cartman has "authoritah."

In fact, Bakri is a laughing stock among Muslims and all Muslim scholars and leading Islamic organizations of the UK have been actively condemning him for a long time. Thus to describe Bakri an "authority" and to present him as some sort of a widely respected member of the UK Muslim community is nothing short of gross distortion of reality. Indeed, Muslims in the UK often complain about the media coverage surrounding Omar Bakri since it is well known that he does not represent the Muslims nor speaks on their behalf. As Inayat Bunglawala states:

The Muslim Council of Britain repeatedly urged journalists not to exaggerate the minuscule support that al-Muhajiroun has in this country by giving undue coverage to such an obvious publicity stunt. In the event, no actual conferences were held except for a press conference, which was very well attended indeed – by journalists. There is a symbiotic relationship between the media and al-Muhajiroun – one side needs constant sensationalism; the other, to mask the scarcity of its followers, needs publicity.

The irony is that it is ordinary British Muslims who are left wounded – often literally – by this sort of provocative drivel, while the far Right gains added ammunition for its menacing agenda. It cannot be a coincidence that the last two anniversary events organised by al-Muhajiroun have attracted more BNP activists than British Muslims.

[Note: Omar Bakri is a member of the al-Mahajiroun organization, a party shunned by virtually all the Muslims of the UK. BNP, on the other hand, is a racist party: British National Party, particularly towards Muslims.]

In another article Bunglawala says:

The media only fuelled this fear of Islam. Large sections of it, instead of giving column inches to the mainstream British Muslim voice, irresponsibly went to a tiny fringe element with minuscule support to allow them to widely air their unrepresentative views. Out of more than 800 UK mosques, only one, Finsbury Park in London, was run by a known 'radical'. Yet this mosque received more media coverage than all the rest put together. Very little attempt was made to explain that these 'radicals' had no standing in the wider Muslim community. The situation was akin to taking a member of the racist British National Party and saying his views were representative of ordinary Britons.

[Note: The Finsbury Park mosque was recently taken from the thug Abu Hamzah and has been returned to the Muslim community]

I think it is not difficult to see the reason why White might have acted a little less than honest on this occasion in his erroneous description of Omar Bakri. Like most evangelical Christians, I suspect his wish and desire is to present Muslims in the worst possible light through the use of hasty generalizations. That is to say, if one Muslim makes any radical statement, it means all Muslims everywhere share those views and are thus guilty; if a Muslim does something crazy, it must mean it's Islam's fault; if one Muslim commits a violent act, then that means all Muslims everywhere are guilty and support that action and do not condemn it even if they issue a thousand condemnations. Similarly, the crazier the statement the more “authoritative” the Muslim! This, in my view, is the mindset of most Christian polemicists. To use White's mentality, we would have to conclude that the racist BNP is representative of all White people of the UK and receives their firm support. James White transfroms a nobody into an "Islamic authority" so that his readers, most of whom are Christians, would walk away with a bad impression of Muslims, wrongly thinking mainstream Muslims of the UK strongly support Bakri, whereas the fact is that Bakri has been condemned by almost all Muslim organizations, mosques and scholars of the UK. So using White's logic, the BNP should also be viewed as an "authority" on Christian matters and a representative of all White British Christians. I think we are standing on stronger ground with this statement because, at the very least, many many more Christians support the BNP as compared to a dozen or so Muslims who support Bakri.
To know about the Muslim community of the UK, see:

Muslim Council of Britain (MCB)

I end this reply with the following:

Contrary to the impression left by much of our sensationalist media with their perverse fixation with the ridiculous antics of Omar Bakri and his tiny – and not very merry – band of semi-thugs, only 15 people have actually been convicted under anti-terror legislation since 9/11: a current strike rate of 2.5%. And the majority of these convictions have been for credit card fraud or immigration offences.

As promised above, I will be writing more on James White in the future Inshallah.

Wassalam

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