Det er bemerkelsesverdig å se hvordan imam Taj Hargey angripes fordi han våger å kritisere synet på kvinner som spres i muslimske miljøer i Storbritannia.
På Islamophobia Watch henges Hargey ut som en løpegutt for islamofobe krefter. Samme teknikk er benyttet i norske medier, mot Shabana Rehman og Abid Raja. Det er effektivt, så lenge mediene ikke gjør noe for å bannlyse teknikken. Man later som dette er del av et legitimt ordskifte når målet i virkeligheten er å stoppe munnen på de som våger å kritisere muslimer innenfra.
There’s always been a market for Muslims who are prepared to publicly endorse Islamophobic smears against their co-religionists, and Taj Hargey, the self-appointed imam from Oxford, has always been particularly eager to cater to that demand.
If you’re looking for a self-styled Muslim leader to back a Zionist-inspired Panorama attack on the Muslim Council of Britain, blame British mosques for the 7/7 bombings, accuse university Islamic societies of fuelling terrorism, support the claim that a mosque near the Sandhurst military academy represents a security threat, line up with Christian fundamentalists in denouncing a proposed “mega-mosque” in East London, applaud Sarkozy’s ban on the veil or excuse the Swiss ban on minarets – then Taj Hargey’s your man. (A summary of Hargey’s record on such issues can be found here.)
Hargey’s article in the Daily Mail last week (“The Oxford sex ring and the preachers who teach young Muslim men that white girls are cheap”) was immediately taken up by theDaily Telegraph (“‘Imams promote grooming rings’, Muslim leader claims”) and yesterday Hargey received a further plug in the Sunday Express (“Imam: ‘Sack liberal cowards’”). Nor is the promotion of Hargey and his poisonous opinions restricted to the Tory press.
Carole Malone’s column in yesterday’s Sunday Mirror (“Oxford grooming ring was race-hate gang rape”) featured a gushing tribute to Hargey’s role in whipping up Islamophobia in the wake of the Oxford trial (“while most Muslim clerics have stayed silent on this, while our wider society refuses to acknowledge what these crimes are REALLY about, only Dr Taj Hargey, imam of the Oxford Islamic congregation, had the courage to stick his head above the parapet and say what happened to these girls WAS racially motivated and illustrates the deep-seated hatred some Muslim men have for white women”).
Last week Hargey was also featured on the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2, where he was used to discredit the far more informed analysis of the Oxford grooming case presented by John Brown of the NSPCC’s sexual abuse programme. In response, Yusuf Smith has posted a well-argued piece over at Indigo Jo Blogs demolishing Hargey’s nonsense about the responsibility of the Muslim community in encouraging the sexual exploitation of young girls. But don’t expect Muslims putting forward such reasoned arguments to be afforded the same media profile as Hargey any time soon.