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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Proclamations of the Red Queen

28th March 2008

United Kingdom: Gay Tories and Islamophobic “Research”

Posted by: Craig Young

While I praise New Zealand’s mainline churches for their integrity and honesty, given their reaffirmation of the need to fight economic inequality and social exclusion, I must draw attention to one British case where shoddy research resulted in serious mischiefmaking against religious and ethnic minorities, for partisan benefit. What’s worse, I must also report that an out, centre-right gay man was responsible for leading the organisation that  released this material, for partisan advantage.

How is this relevant to New Zealand? Well, our own beloved Christian Right Maxim Institute has been known to quote the work of Policy Exchange, the organisation responsible for this questionable “report.” Entitled “The Hijacking of British Islam”, the report alleged that several British mosques were being (ab)used to distribute literature that incited terrorism against Anglo-American targets, as well as that which encouraged rabid homophobia.

BBC’s Newsnight current affairs programme investigated these Policy Exchange claims. After conducting a forensic examination of the material in question, they concluded that the alleged ‘inflammatory propaganda’ had been faked, written by a single person, and moreover, one that was not representative of usual worshippers at seven of those mosques. Saemus Milne of the Guardian contacted another, and learnt it had no bookshop or literature rack to distribute such publications. Moreover, Policy Exchange may have connections to the US Project for a New American Century, widely regarded as principal architects of the Iraq War, and urging similar military adventurism against Iran.

Fabricated ‘research’ and falsification is the work of scoundrels, and Milne reports that there are already worrying trends in Britain related to the rise of the neofascist (and amti-gay) British National Party, as well as anti-Muslim sectarian and anti-Asian organised racist violence. As for the Maxim Institute, one hopes that given these concerns about the low standards of ‘research’ evident at Policy Exchange, it now chooses not to pay uncritical attention to its research. Nor should LGBT audiences trust the work of an organisation merely because it is neutral on LGBT rights issues, or relax our own skills of critical inquiry and scepticism:

Strongly Recommended:

Seamus Milne: “Cameron must rein in these toxic neocon attack dogs” Guardian (20.12.07).

Not Recommended:

Maxim Institute:

Tags: Politics · Religion

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