Councillor Salim Mulla

[Continued from the previous missive…]

Man alive, looking into the activities of Salim Mulla, senior vice-chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques and councillor for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, has been a real box of delights. This is the last missive for the moment.

Mulla has been implicated in a wider case of gross misconduct by a number of Lancashire County Council employees who used work computers to forward graphic images comparing Operation Cast Lead, in December 2008 and January 2009, to the Shoah. Bear in mind a local council does not have a foreign policy.

When challenged, Mulla insisted that his conscience was clear as he supported local Holocaust Memorial Day events each year. In my experience, there never is any shortage of people willing to grieve over dead Jews… it is those Jews trying to remain not-dead who are the problem. During protests in Amsterdam, not far from the Gies family home, Dutch parliamentarian Harry von Bommel was filmed speaking as other attendees chanted “Hamas, Hamas, Joden aan het gas!” (Jews, Jews, Jews to the gas!”.

Despite insisting he did not hear the chants, and that nothing about the rally presumably suggested they could be made, von Bommel later agreed not to attend upcoming Auschwitz commemorations.

Perhaps Mulla would consider a similar course of action.

As I was reading about Mulla’s alleged involvement in the LCC e-mail scandal, a memory was being triggered in my head. Then I remembered: in January 2008, it was reported that the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Barham Salih had claimed that the activities in many Blackburn mosques would be illegal in his country.

One of the local newspapers reported Mulla as reacting “furiously”:

He said Dr Salih spoke positively about what he had seen when they spoke during his visit.

Mr Mulla said: “We are going out of our way to bring the community together.

“Nobody is working harder than us at breaking down barriers.

“For Dr Salih to make these sort of comments is not very helpful at all.

“I don’t know where he’s coming from.

“He was very co-operative when he visited, and took lots of photographs.

“How many incidents have we had in Blackburn?

“He is talking a load of rubbish.”

As far as I can tell, Mulla is one of those self-appointed big cheeses in the local faith scene. Perhaps the greatest self-inflicted wound caused by successive British Governments has been communalizing populations, with control passed to “community leaders” who, rather than representing a majority of British Muslims – who hail from a variety on different confessionals and ethnic groups – are simply acting as gatekeepers promoting plural monoculturism and their own narrow religio-political conservatism and/or reactionary views. They decided whom they, and by extension their “communities” do and do not speak to.

The Blackburn local government community seems to be fast becoming BNP-country, as reported in the Independent in June 2009 (complete with a seriously scary discussion). Do not get me wrong, I think that at the core of the BNP is a bunch of distal-phalanges scraping racists and unreconstructed Nazis, but not all the million plus voters who did vote in the recent EU and English local council elections can be so.

Many will be misled, and few encourage this sense of misplaced loyalty more than Mulla’s general buffoonery combined with support for unsavoury religious bigotry.

The general buffoonery starts with his recent denunciation (with plausible deniability of question-marks), referring to his status as a councillor, of the Harry Potter books in the Lancashire Telegraph:

IS not Harry Potter indicative of a larger deterioration of the moral fabric in man?

Why does entertainment and fun draw millions of people and why does worship and spirituality lead to boredom?

Do the Harry Potter books not glorify magic and sorcery? Is the evil of sorcery and magic not being sugar-coated?

[…]

Oh, gee, let me think… no? Even the Roman Catholic Church now agrees.

And, who can forget the twaddle over piggy banks “offending” British Muslims? No, they gave an opportunity for the senior vice-chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques (i.e. Mulla) to get his name in the newspapers. Sane Muslims, such as Khalid Mahmood MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, disagreed. Mahmood can also be seen to have upset certain criminally-minded Lords and Kaa lookalike-and-soundalike Inayat Bunglethingie: which is good.

The Is a Picture of the Islamic Prophet - Please Do Not Kill Me!
The Is a Picture of the Islamic Prophet – Please Do Not Kill Me!

Then there was the manufactured outrage over pictorial representations of the Islamic Prophet, some of which were fabricated. In February 2008, the Lancashire Telegraph reported that “Muslim spokespeople” [love the gender-sensitivity!] that Mulla – again touting his position as a councillor – was calling for a boycott of Wiki because “Muslims were disgusted” by its storing of an image of the Islamic Prophet. The article stated:

In Islam it is not permitted to show or produce pictures of the holy prophet.

That is not true.

How could Mulla now out-bonkers himself? Not by firing off e-mails referring to his status as Councillor and objecting to Nandos, but by objecting to athiest bus-signs. The Lancashire Telegraph reported, reasonably enough, the the local bus company chooses not to permit private advertizements on its vehicles, but Mulla – for once, not referred to as a Councillor – was reported as saying:

Salim Mulla, vice-chairman of Lancashire Council of Mosques, said: “A message like this will not be helpful to the work going on between the Christian and Muslim communities in East Lancashire”.

I am at a complete loss as to what me means here. Anyone?

Less comically was his objections to the arrests of participants in George Galloway’s Children Crusade Viva Palestina convoy – now under investigation by the Charity Commission – in his stomping ground:

“I don’t know the three people from Burnley but we received a call where we were asked if the other lads could join them to drive down to London.

Like you knew nothing about the LCC e-mail scandal? The reason arrests tooks place was that there were strong suspicions that wannabe jihadists were planning to sneak out of the country and do a bit playing abroad.

I assume the convoy organizers had made adequate security checks.

“They were not going to Gaza.

“We are very angry about the way the police carried out the operation on the M65.

“If they had suspicions about the three people from Burnley why did they not arrest them before? Why on the motorway?

“We work hard to build strong community relationships and community cohesion.

“This creates distrust within the community for the police.

“The community is very, very angry, it has never been so angry in East Lancashire.”

Oh, who made you the final arbiter of ‘Muslim opinion’? Salim, you are a perfect gift to the BNP. Please stop.

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