Over the years Hope not Hate has done a lot of good work in fighting the extreme (Nazi) far right and has rightly earned the respect of many activists. However sometimes and seemingly more often these days they seem to be getting things wrong. Only now can I see why they split from Searchlight who remain focused on the Nazi threat both here and abroad.
Hope not Hate has been expanding it's remit into other areas such as taking on Hate preachers like Anjem Choudary (though it has to be said not much else in that particular field), UKIP and the "Counter Jihadists.
One of the campaigns they ran was to prevent Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer coming to the UK. At the time I posted the HnH material on this blog, but later came to realise that this was a mistake and have subsequently removed the old post. I may sometimes find their views a little unpalatable but the right of free speech has to be upheld and the campaign to ban them was in stark contrast to the continued arrival of many clerical fascists from the Middle East upon which the usual suspects of the anti-imperialist left of course remained silent.
The decision of HnH supporters to widen their campaign to include UKIP was something I felt very uncomfortable about at the time as whilst they are right wing and nationalistic, they are not in the same league as the BNP. Having concerns about immigration and Europe does not automatically make someone beyond the pale. Yes there were a number of rogues found in UKIP, but these kinds of people can be found in lots of other places
And not just on the right...
It is their latest "report" that concerns me. It's a bit on a non event as far as I can see. Very little evidence to suggest anything that would justify such an effort on the part of Nick Lowles & Co.
They have published a pamphlet attacking amongst others Anne Marie Waters a well known secularist activist for "having a discussion" about the possible dangers inherent in holding an exhibition exhibiting cartoons of the so-called "Prophet". The left in this country was very cowardly when the journalists of Charlie Hebdoe were massacred.
The need for a robust defence of freedom of speech and expression has never been greater.
The possibility or inevitability of violence as a result of the clash of freedom with Islamic extremists is hardly new. The danger of these fanatics launching attacks on our free society is an ever present danger. We all know this.
But some think we have to curb our rights to try and prevent this.
Unless you follow Islam(ism) of any description. Then any limitation of their rights is just so-called "Islamophobia.
Trouble is the far left discuss "revolutionary violence" and its' "inevitability (in Marxist terms) year in year out. Anyone who has ever been in any kind of Marxist/Leninist organisation knows the comrades have discussed this on ever since the publication of the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engles.
Somehow for them it is respectable and not a matter for concern.
Except it isn't.
There are double standards at work here and certainly Hope not Hate is now losing the plot going in a direction that will only confuse and divide it's potential supporters. They were ill advised to write this report which frankly is much ado about nothing.
It'll appeal to the usual suspects of the anti-imperialist brigade who's chilling chants of death to Israel and worse has been coming from their lips for years.
There is a conflict with Islamism and the basic theology of Islam is whether the comrades like it or not a problem. The medieval mindset that is imposed through fear of communal pressure, isolation and the threats aimed at apostates is very real. This has to be confronted and a reformation of Islam implemented. There will be those who resist and I suspect as experience shows it is unlikely to be peaceful.
However I remain convinced that in time with a vigorous defence of a secular and democratic society that respects human rights before religious rights that a process of integration can begin.
In the meantime we must remain vigilant to the threat that exists within our midst from those who would use violence for their "prophet".
Update: Anne Marie Waters has published a response: