While Britain Prime Minister David Cameron might still entertain the belief he stands a true defender of democracy, pluralism, and free speech, his bigotry has been made public too many times for anyone to ignore.
A prejudiced bigot in democratic clothing, PM Cameron has come to epitomise ethno-centrism, and nepotism, rolled up in passive-aggressive chauvinism. A product of the Establishment Cameron simply cannot see beyond ethno-sectarian labels … never mind multi-culturalism.
While most elected state officials have made a living out of speaking, Mr Cameron should have learnt the value of silence, when he decided this week to take a swipe at the “Muslim” candidate for Mayor of London by playing the Islamic card.
While Mr Cameron is entitled to his opinions, I’m not sure how Mr Sadiq Khan’s faith, and his lifestyle should bear any weight in a political debate – aren’t we supposed to debate real issues instead of fluffing around like pre-schoolers? We live in a society so consumed, and obsessed with labels, that we are often missing the point.
Rather than debate Mr Khan on political issues by offering his own views, PM Cameron resorted instead to faith-shaming … alleging that since Mr Khan identifies as a Muslim something untoward must be at work! How is that for radically ignorant?! Actually it goes beyond that, the prime minister declared that since Khan shared a stage with a well-known radical, his character should be put into question.
A report from the Guardian reads: “Cameron laid into Khan during prime minister’s questions, saying the Labour mayoral contender had nine times shared a platform with a radical imam called Suliman Gani, who he said supported ”IS” (Islamic State).”
I will say this: “Prime minister this one comment might come to haunt you … He who has not sinned should throw the first stone and all that …”
While I don’t exactly hold Mr Khan in great political esteem … I would much rather see Mr George Galloway occupy the Mayor of London seat, I still believe the man should be judged strictly on is political views, and not at Islamic face value. His “muslimness” does not imply radicalism … Muslims are not the spawn of Satan!
Resorting to xenophobia to score political points stands testimony to Mr Cameron’s lack of political substance. But then again we are talking about the Conservatives here … not exactly the poster children of multi-culturalism and tolerance.
If you recall, Britain’s Premiere resorted to a similar tactic back in December 2015 as he begged Conservative MPs to give him a parliamentary majority, so that he could drop a few bombs in Syria, and participate in the “democratic” destruction of another Middle Eastern country.
Then Mr Cameron accused Jeremy Corbyn of being a terror sympathizer. “You should not be walking through the lobbies with Jeremy Corbyn and a bunch of terrorist sympathisers,” the prime minister reportedly told a parliamentary committee.
When it comes to defending his point of view, and his policies Mr Cameron’s modus operandi has been slander, and bigotry.
Here is how the Independent related the prime minister’s Islamophobic rant at parliament: “Labour MPs have hit at David Cameron for lending his support to an “Islamophobic” campaign against their party’s Muslim candidate for Mayor of London. David Cameron used his weekly platform at PMQs to echo attacks made by Zac Goldsmith against Sadiq Khan – which have prompted accusations the Tories’ campaign is “racist”.”
In the Commons, Cameron said he was “concerned about Labour’s candidate as mayor of London who has appeared again and again and again” on a stage with people he described as extremists. He went on saying: “They are shouting down this point because they don’t want to hear the truth. Anyone can make a mistake about who they appear on a platform with … but if you do it time after time after time it is right to question your judgment.”
If Mr Cameron was to follow his own logic, I believe he just labelled himself a war criminals and a terror enabler.
Let’s see shall we. If Mr Khan can be branded a radical by association on account he happened to have sat, or stood in the presence of an identified radical, how should we translate Mr Cameron’s insistence in holding hands with humanity’s very worst?
Let me draw a list: Prince Bandar bin Salman – grand terror engineer, Tony Blair: war criminal extraordinaire, George W. Bush: professional psychopath, and obsessive compulsive hunter for weapons of mass destruction, King Salam: genocidal theocrat, Recep Erdogan: terror enabler, and radical war profiteer … need I go on?
Again, while I hold no particular sympathy for Mr Khan, I do believe Mr Cameron quite clumsily put a foot in it. Before ramming into Mr Khan’s alleged friendships with radicals, he would have done well to assess the nature of his own. When it comes to the moral high ground Mr Cameron is standing knee deep in water.
And so here we are discussing a candidate’s faith, and assumed radicalism when time, and energy could be spent on solving Britain’s many crises. Talk about procrastination …
Labour MP Chuka Umunna reacted to Mr Cameron’s disgraceful comments by noting: “So David Cameron has joined Zac Goldsmith’s Islamophobic campaign against Sadiq Khan. Utterly disgraceful … The PM’s comments seek to shift the London Mayoral campaign from housing and transport – on which Sadiq is winning – to religion. Appalling … [David Cameron] thinks it is a crime for Sadiq Khan to be a Muslim and have been a human rights lawyer.”
At such a time when British officials have made such a fuss over multi-culturalism and their undying devotion to freedom of speech, and religion, I find PM Cameron’s beyond hypocritical, and downright criminal.
It is comments such as his which have allowed for xenophobia to become the norm by which we measure all things. It is because of attitude such as his, that Britain finds itself lock in a ridiculous debate about racial integration.
Maybe if we learn to see people for what they are … people, and judge them on what it is that they do, and not how they pray, we might actually get a handle on democracy.
Or is that too radical for you Mr Prime Minister?
This article was written by Catherine Shakdam for American Herald Tribune on Apr. 21, 2016. Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen.