Main menu:

Recent posts

Categories

Archives

Donate

To help keep HP running

 

Or make a one-off donation:

A genuine anti-racist? Anthony McRoy, Islam and Islamism

by Joseph W

Anthony McRoy is a visiting lecturer at the Wales Evangelical School of Theology and the London School of Theology, giving lectures on Islam and Islamic-Christian relations. McRoy is particularly influential in evangelical Christian circles. He also performs a diplomatic role, and tries to bring evangelicals and Islamists together.

As well as being a lecturer, McRoy is also a frequent writer in evangelical publications like Christianity Today and Evangelicals Now. He regularly appears on the British Christian radio station Premier. In 2007, he commented on Premier:

Jews were persecuted in Europe. And that of course is very valid. But what strikes me is, what I call the ‘paedophile argument’ for Zionism. We often find the case that people who engage in sex abuse of children, were themselves sex-abused while they were children. And the fact that you were sexually abused does not give you the right to sexually abuse anyone else. In the same way, the fact you’ve been oppressed because of your race, creed, whatever, does not give you the right to go and persecute anyone else.  And I think we’ve got to bring that home, there is no paedophile argument for Zionism.

That kind of comment might shock you. You might think, golly, that sounds like a very anti-Semitic thing to say. Holocaust survivors are basically paedophiles? That sounds like something straight out of the BNP. Or, you might think, gosh, what a progressive thing to say, he is a hero.

When it comes to Anthony McRoy, which is it?

McRoy has made his name for himself as an academic on Islamic extremism in the UK. Yet he has also been outspoken on a wide range of issues, holding radical political positions shared by Islamic extremists.

In 2003, McRoy participated in a conference hosted by the IHRC. The IHRC is:

“a Khomeinist group that campaigns for Islamists in legal trouble, including convicted terrorists, such as Omar Abdel Rahman, the “blind sheikh”.

At the event, McRoy declared that Zionism was based upon racist ideas of European supremacy, and that Zionism possessed an “essentially racist character”. Speaking of which – when it comes to racism,  McRoy himself has a checkered history.

Searchlight lists one “Tony McRoy” as having been convicted in Hull for being a member of the terrorist group UDA, in 1979. Tribune Magazine has more details about McRoy’s dealings with the police at university. The police asked McRoy to become a policeinformer – a request which he apparently refused. Last year, the Jewish Chronicle confirmed that Anthony McRoy was affiliated with the National Front. McRoy is mentioned in the second ever edition of the Socialist Organiser – then a socialist paper on the Labour Left.

McRoy has thankfully repudiated his past in the National Front, and has written against the policies of the BNP, and their racism against Muslims. Yet McRoy has gone the other way. He now plays with the concept of Islamophobia. smearing anti-fascist campaigns as Islamophobic.

He thinks the NUS were being Islamophobic when they banned the racist, pro-genocide party Hizb-uh-Tahrir from campus, writing:

there is a history of systematic Islamophobia by the NUS going back to the 1980s. In 1989, Imperial College (London) Union debated a motion, which failed, calling for its Islamic Society to condemn Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie or be banned. Thereafter Muslims feel that they are the victims of systematic NUS Islamophobia. The initial NUS campaign targeted Hizb-ut-Tahrir and Al-Muhajiroun. The April 1994 NUS annual conference committed the union to combating the party on campus, and accused the party of being a threat to Jews, Hindus and homosexuals, and also attacked it as racist.

McRoy tries to tie in genuine concern about Hizb-ut-Tahrir as somehow evidence of the NUS being Islamophobic. I wouldn’t consider the NUS to be anti-Semitic if they outlawed Kahanist groups, for example.

He also thinks anti-BNP sentiment plays out like Islamophobia, writing:

Credit where credit is due; the BNP have every reason to be proud of their success. [...] In Barking & Dagenham, the BNP faced a well-oiled campaign initiated by the trade unions and Labour against them;  [...] So often the general Muslim reaction to such antagonism is to moan and whine, and adopt a defeatist attitude that nothing can be done and that media hostility intensifies Islamophobia. The same goes for politicians who join the various ‘Friends of Israel’ groups or make a career out of Muslim-bashing. Well, the BNP could be excused for a similar response, but they didn’t react in that way; they fought on – and in East London, they won. That’s a lesson for British Muslims.

McRoy has written books and articles documenting the rise of extremist understandings of Islam.  He is the author of From Rushdie to 7/7: The Radicalisation of Islam in Britain. He also writes silly things like:

in the light of the Forest Gate raid [...] even a long beard is sufficient ground for [police] suspicion [of Muslims] these days

For three years, McRoy was the senior researcher at the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity. The ISIC is run by Patrick Sookhdeo – a Muslim convert to Christianity who is at times accused of essentialising Islam.

McRoy himself is critical of Islamic doctrine  - for example, in a recent sermon to Cheam Baptist Church:

Be very careful when you speak to Muslims about Paradise, because Paradise is not like it is in the Bible. It’s not about having fellowship with God. If you want a big idea of what it is like for a Muslim man, think of Hugh Hefner in the Playboy mansion.

On the other hand, McRoy writes for extremist Islamist publications, the Al Aqsa Journal – run by the anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist Ismail Patel. McRoy appears at IHRC events. He endorses Mpac-UK. He gave a lecture on Hezbollah “martyrdom” at conference organised by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s religious instructors.

McRoy comes across as negative about Islam, but positive about Islamist outfits.

Here is McRoy on the Solace of the Savior and Hezbollah’s Victory:

Just as the Mahdi will avenge the blood of Hussein with the blood of Oppressors, so the Lebanese avenged the blood of their sons and daughters with the blood of Israeli soldiers.

[...]

Hezbollah also used one of its own special types of resistance against the Zionist enemy that is the suicide attacks. These attacks dealt great losses to the enemy on all thinkable levels such as militarily and mentally.

[...]

Thus, we can truly say that Hezbollah’s victory over the Israeli bombardment in 2006 was the Triumphant Jihad of the Mahdi. The fact of the Mahdi’s inspiration of Hezbollah’s jihad was hidden from the eyes of the Israelis.

McRoy on Hamas and Hezbollah:

The Palestinians have been emboldened by the victory of Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Lebanese resistance group, without the arsenal available to the Israelis, wore the latter down and effectively chased them out of the country. For the first time, Arabs actually beat the Zionist enemy – a ragtag group of lightly-armed guerrillas defeated a nuclear power, just as another group of Muslims humiliated the mighty Soviet army.

So how would you sum up McRoy’s attitude to Hezbollah?

I would say McRoy sees Hezbollah in very positive terms, and thinks they are heroes and possibly even martyrs. McRoy argues that my concerns about his rhetoric on Hezbollah don’t matter, given that he doesn’t really believe in Khomeinist ideology.

But you can still be positive about Hezbollah without actually believing in the Mahdi – just as you can be positive about the UDA without actually believing in Jesus.

I had rather hoped that McRoy would have learned his lesson by now, and stopped being so enthusiastic about anti-Semitic political leaders.

Here is John Tyndall, leader of the NF in the 1970s, on the Jews:

“Mein Kampf is my bible”

Here is Hasan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, on the Jews:

“If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”

“If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli.”

I am skeptical about McRoy’s credentials as a genuine anti-racist.

I also question why he writes in such a fawning way about religious racists, whilst disagreeing with their religion.