An Image for Our Time

This photograph has gone viral today, and I couldn’t resist sharing it here.

It was taken during a march by the fascist English Defence League in Birmingham yesterday. The young lady on the left is Saffiyah Khan, who was not part of the organised counter-demonstration but stepped forward when a group of EDL thugs surrounded another woman who was. The man on the right  threatened her with his fists and a policeman intervened in an attempt to defuse the situation.

 Ms Khan kept her hands in her pockets all the time, her smile conveying a sense of amused contempt that is truly an image for our times.

The man at the right in the picture is Ian Crossland, a leading figure in the EDL. He later wrote on Facebook that Ms Khan was “lucky she got any teeth left”.

By the way, here’s an excerpt from Mr Crossland’s Facebook page:


Saffiyah Khan is half Pakistani and half Bosnian, but I’d far rather live in a Britain made in her image than in his.

Advertisements

11 Responses to “An Image for Our Time”

  1. Is there anything more English than grace under pressure? Keep calm and carry on, Saffiyah.

  2. Apparently the EDL plan their next demo in Liverpool on June 9th. I am confident that the citizens of Liverpool will follow those of Birmingham, and treat the EDL calmly, but with the contempt that they deserve.

    I particularly like that the Birmingham Central Mosque organised a British tea party to coincide.

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    It is worth asking why the EDL came into existence. Its aim is to ensure that the political aspects of Islam make no further headway in Britain. I support that aim, and strongly; but I do not support the EDL at all, and this is why.

    • What are the political aspects of Islam, Anton? You will have to help me, I really don’t know, you may have more idea but I suspect that the EDL thugs in the photo above have even less idea than me. Islam has inherent divisions at least as deep and at least as long lasting as the divisions in Christianity. It would seem to me that the political outlook of an adherent to, say, Sufi Islam (for instance the musician Richard Thompson) would have a very different political outlook from that of an adherent to Wahhabi Islam. If you were to ask me to describe the political aspects of Christianity, I would be just as baffled, even though in principle I should know them more. Take for instance, the late Oscar Romero, Archbishop Justin Welby, and Pat Robertson. Each has made political statements which to them are informed by their Christian faith. But the political outlook of the three is or was very different, and in the case of the first and last, poles apart.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        By the political aspects of Islam I meant Sharia Law. One of the hadith(s) – Islamic sacred traditions about Muhammad – records him as saying that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man (Sahih Bukhari 3/48/826), and this is a principle of all schools of Sunni Sharia Law at least. (Bukhari is one of the ancient collectors of these sayings in the sunni tradition; Sahih means that this collection is regarded as most reliable; the numbers are the reference to volume, chapter and number in a well known edition, although I don’t remember which.) People must always be free to reach private agreements over non-criminal matters, but I disapprove of the Sharia and Beth Din courts that have gained official recognition in the UK. The basis of statehood is uniformity of the law. There is also an obvious issue of uneven law enforcement, to the advantage of Muslim communities. For that I protest not against Islam or Muslims but against political correctness.

        Islam is an intrinsically political system, in that the Quran instructs followers to enforce Islam where it is not accepted freely. The New Testament is explicit that biblical Christianity is a voluntary movement of personal piety. The politicisation of Christianity following the Emperor Constantine’s conversion in the 4th century means that most people today have a misunderstanding about what Christianity really is.

      • “The New Testament is explicit that biblical Christianity is a voluntary movement of personal piety.”

        Yes, but Christians practiced forced conversions (Charlemagne comes to mind) and have been very political over the centuries. Whether politics is part of the core of the religion or some later addition usually doesn’t matter—no matter which end of the sword one is on.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        I believe that as soon as Christianity becomes political it ceases to be Christianity. You can’t legislate piety, only conformity. I might not have Anglicans and Roman Catholic behind me about that but I have the New Testament and I am by design in a congregation that holds the same view.

        Please note before deciding where the lines are to be drawn that very few atheists have ever been put to death by self-identifying Christians for being atheist, but plenty of Christians who hold my view have.

        For the avoidance of confusion I see nothing wrong with Christians being in politics in lands where that is possible, eg democracies; but the church as a corporate body should not be.

      • “very few atheists have ever been put to death by self-identifying Christians for being atheist”

        Perhaps not atheists, but many non-Christians of other faiths, e.g. heathens. “Accept Christ as your saviour or I will kill you with this sword” was a successful tactic.

        On the other hand, until quite recently—and still today in many places—self-identifying as an atheist was sure to bring trouble, perhaps death, so people kept quiet about it. (Similarly, homosexuals remained in the closet. Händel might have been gay, for example, but had few problems as a result because practically no-one knew.)

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        That’s true, Phillip, and is why I wrote above that “The politicisation of Christianity following the Emperor Constantine’s conversion in the 4th century means that most people today have a misunderstanding about what Christianity really is”.

    • telescoper Says:

      I rather think that, for its membership, the EDL came into existence as a pretext for indulging in drunken racist violence.

  4. “Saffiyah Khan is half Pakistani and half Bosnian, but I’d far rather live in a Britain made in her image than in his.”

    But probably rather in even post-Brexit England than in Bosnia or Pakistan. 😐

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: