(Posthumous) Islamist Comedy Award for Charlie Hebdo

9 Mar 2015 by Mark Gardner

Sometimes an organisation reveals its true nature by deliberately behaving in a way that others can only interpret as blatantly stupid, crass and offensive. This happened last week with Islamist-prisoner advocacy group, CAGE, whose director referred to a notorious Islamic State beheader as having been “a beautiful young man”: not so much Jihadi John as Jilted John.

Some of the outrage against CAGE was rightly directed against the Quaker-linked Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, which had given hundreds of thousands of pounds funding to the group.

Now, another past recipient of the Trust’s generosity has also soiled the sheets: the Islamic Human Rights Commission, who have given an “Islamophobia Award” to the staff of Charlie Hebdo. This, barely two months after eleven people were murdered by a terrorist at Hebdo’s Paris headquarters. IHRC also made four “positive” awards: recipients did not include Ahmed Merabet, the (French Muslim) police officer who was murdered outside the Hebdo offices as he lay wounded on the pavement.

Rowntree gave the IHRC £60,000 from 2005 to 2007. The funding ended shortly after IHRC’s “Prisoners of Faith Campaign Pack” for convicted terrorist Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (pdf here).

IHRC is an Islamist advocacy group that organises London’s al-Quds Rally, an annual event called by the late Ayatollah Khomeini to demand Israel’s destruction. The rally’s Iranian and Lebanese iterations are especially prone to venomous anti-Israel and anti-American hatred.

IHRC also organises another annual event, the Islamophobia Awards. IHRC claim it helps to show that Muslims have a sense of humour: something that is notably absent from the fascistic al-Quds rallies by Hizbollah, Revolutionary Guards and others in Beirut, Teheran and elsewhere.

This year’s Islamophobia Awards went to Maajid Nawaz, Theresa May, Fox News, American Sniper…and the staff of Charlie Hebdo. The event was covered by Iranian broadcaster Press TV. Their two minute news segment concluded:

"None of the winners of the Islamophobia Awards were present to pick up this dubious accolade"

Like its Iranian paymasters, Press TV is no laughing matter (even including George Galloway’s programmes for them). So, we can assume that the above was an unfortunate choice of words: rather than a case of adding mere insult to deadly injury.

Aaron Keily of the National Executive of the National Union of Students has enthusiastically tweeted about the event, including a picture of a promotional brochure with positive messages from columnist Peter Oborne and the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, who states:

"it is crucial to have people who challenge [negative stereotypes]…These awards are of great significance in such a task and I send my congratulations and warm greetings to all involved."

Jews have long known that the stupidity and power of racism makes it a highly suitable target for satire. Nevertheless, it is counter-productive lunacy to think that the fight against contemporary anti-Muslim hatred is helped by giving sarcastic awards to the victims of Jihadist terrorism.


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“Since 2003, CST has been a stalwart supporter of ODIHR in its efforts to effectively monitor antisemitic hate crime in the OSCE Region. With its rigorous methodology and innovative partnerships with the British police, it is viewed by many as representing the gold standard for NGO responses to all forms of hate crime. I wish CST all success in its exciting new phase of work.”

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