False claim that pregnant woman arrested for carrying British flag
by Sheila Musaji
On 5/26, a video was posted on YouTube claiming that a pregnant woman arrested in oldham for holding british flag. So many copies of this video were posted in a short time, that it is difficult to tell which came first. I watched the video a few times, and it really isn’t possible to make out clearly what happened. The video seems to have been made by individuals who were with the woman who was taken aside by the police. You can’t hear what the police are saying, or identify the religion of the man being interviewed on one side by police.
And, then the Islamophobia blogsphere lit up with reports that this woman was arrested because Muslims complained about the British flag. Even The Examiner published a story titled Pregnant Brit detained by cops for having a British flag, someone was ‘provoked’. In that article they refer to a Manchester Gazette article Video of woman Apparently being Arrested for Holding British Flag goes Viral as their source.
If you read the Manchester Gazette article, it clearly does not support the Examiner headline, or the rest of the inflammatory and bigoted Examiner article. The facts reported by the Manchester Gazette were that
A video which received thousands of views on Live leak appeared to show a woman being arrested for displaying a Union jack in Oldham. The video quickly went viral leading to thousands of comments, views and shares on social media, but It appears that the flag holder may not be so innocent as Text can be seen on the back of the flag.
Response from Greater Manchester police:
GMP did not arrest a pregnant woman during tensions in Oldham yesterday, and no Union Flag was confiscated from her.
Chief Superintendent Catherine Hankinson said: “Yesterday (Saturday) afternoon, police became aware that a number of people had gathered in Oldham town centre who were shouting and had flags, some of which were provoking passersby. As a result there were tensions and some minor disorder.
“While we will always allow and help facilitate peaceful protest, we felt that the actions of these people threatened our community cohesion, so it was our duty to do all we could prevent tensions from escalating. Officers dealing with this altercation saw that a woman had a Union Flag and another flag which was highly inappropriate and in our view solely designed to further inflame tensions. This woman was therefore taken to one side, the second flag was taken from her and she understood that the flag was causing offence. At no point was she arrested, or did she have her Union Flag confiscated from her.”
The Islamophobia echo chamber who is always eager to publish anything that might be used to demonize Muslims couldn’t wait for the facts to be known, or to do any fact-checking. Instead, this is the sort of anti-Muslim propaganda they churned out.
Pamela Geller posted a link to the video under the title Pregnant British Patriot arrested after Muslim complaints that she is offending them by holding a British flag
Bonni of Bare Naked Islam posted HUH? Pregnant British woman arrested by several fascist police for carrying a Union Jack flag. She also included the video and commented: “Has England lost its mind? What are they afraid of – offending some Muslim savages on their way to behead another soldier?”
Today, the Oldham Evening Chronicle reports EDL wrong over flag-flyer arrest:
THE head of Oldham police division has quashed rumours that a pregnant woman was arrested for carrying a Union Flag through Oldham town centre.
Chief Supt Catherine Hankinson said no one was held on Saturday afternoon when the English Defence League (EDL) gathered. A video posted on the internet showed a woman being led by police towards a Tactical Aid Unit van after an altercation between two men.
The woman was holding a Union Flag and another flag Greater Manchester Police considered had a “highly-inappropriate” message. Many tweets then made incorrect claims that a pregnant woman had been arrested for carrying a Union Flag.
Chief Supt Hankinson said: “Police became aware that a number of people had gathered in Oldham town centre who were shouting and had flags, some of which were provoking passers-by. Officers saw that a woman had a Union Flag and another flag which in our view was solely designed to further inflame tension. This woman was taken to one side and the second flag was taken from her. At no point was she arrested, nor did she have her Union Flag confiscated.”
The Chronicle understands around 50 members of the far-right group gathered close to High Street, in Oldham, for a short period of time and then dispersed.
So, it seems that that what this was was an EDL “false flag” operation designed to stir up even more tensions.
It would be nice if the EDL, Pamela Geller, Bare Naked Islam, and all the other Islamophobes that published false claims and used terms like “Muslim complaints”, “Muslims offended by the British flag”, “fascist police”, “Muslim savages on their way to behead another soldier”, etc. would publish a retraction or an apology. However, based on past performance, that is not likely.
RESOURCES FOR DEALING WITH ISLAMOPHOBIA SUMMARY
The Islamophobia Industry exists and is engaged in an anti-Muslim Crusade. They have a manifesto for spreading their propaganda, and which states their goal of “destroying Islam — as a culture, a political ideology, and a religion.” They produce anti-Muslim films. They are forming new organizations and coalitions of organizations at a dizzying speed, not only nationally, but also internationally. They have formed an International Leadership Team “which will function as a mobile, proactive, reactive on-the-ground team developing and executing confidential action plans that strike at the heart of the global anti-freedom agenda.”
Currently, the Islamophobia Industry is engaged in a full-scale, coordinated, demonization campaign against American Muslims and Arabs. In just the past few months we have seen a series of inflammatory provocations: There was the Innocence of Muslims film Titanic, a German satire magazine plans an “Islam” cover article to be published later this month. Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine published an issue with inflammatory cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Newsweek published their ‘Muslim Rage’ cover. Terry Jones held a “trial of Prophet Muhammad”. SION held a “global” gathering in NYC to plan propaganda strategy. A group in Toronto publicized a “walk your dog at the mosque” day. AFDI/SIOA has run a series of anti-Muslim ads on public transportation across the country. AFDI/SIOA are planning to run 8 more anti-Muslim ads. There are three more films on Prophet Muhammad in the works by Ali Sina, Mosab Hassan Yousef and Imran Farasat. They are even bringing their hate messages into public schools.
Daniel Pipes is encouraging publication of “A Muhammad cartoon a day”, and says “So, this is my plea to all Western editors and producers: Display the Muhammad cartoon daily, until the Islamists become accustomed to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”. Pipes joins Daniel Greenfield (aka Sultan Knish) who published an appeal on David Horowitz’ Front Page Magazine Is It Time for ‘Make Your Own Mohammed Movie Month’?. And, both are following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Pamela Geller, who promoted just such a plan back in 2010 with her promotion of Draw Muhammad Day, even after the cartoonist who drew the first cartoon and suggested the idea, Molly Norris apologized to Muslims and asked for the day to be called off, and American Muslims had issued a defense of free speech. None of this is surprising as one of the Islamophobes laid out their strategy as “The Muslims themselves have shown us their most vulnerable spot, which is the questionable (though unquestioned) character of the ‘Prophet’ himself. We need to satirise and ridicule baby-bonking Mo until the Muslims fly into uncontrollable tantrums, then ridicule them even more for their tantrums, and repeat the process until they froth at the mouth and steam comes out of their ears.”
The Islamophobia of these folks is very real, it is also strikingly similar to a previous generations’ anti-Semitism, and it has predictable consequences. The reason that this is so obvious to so many is that rational people can tell the difference between legitimate concerns and bigoted stereotypes.
The claim that the Islamophobes are “truth-tellers” and “defenders of freedom” who actually “love Muslims” and have never engaged in “broadbrush demonization” or “advocated violence”, or that nothing that they say could have had anything to do with any act of violence, are nonsense. The claim that they are falsely being accused of Islamophobia for no reason other than their legitimate concerns about real issues and that in fact there is not even such a thing as Islamophobia, or their claim that the fact that there are fewer hate crimes against Muslims than against Jews or that some Muslims have fabricated such crimes “proves” that Islamophobia doesn’t exist, or that the term Islamophobia was made up by Muslims in order to stifle their freedom of speech, or that anti-Muslim bigotry is “not Islamophobia but Islamorealism” are all nonsense.
These individuals and organizations consistently promote the false what everyone “knows” lies about Islam and Muslims (including distorting the meaning of Qur’anic verses, and distorting the meaning of Islamic terms such as taqiyya, jihad, sharia, etc.).
The most commonly repeated false claims about Muslims and Islam are that:
Everyone “knows” that most or all terrorists are Muslims, and there are no Christian and no Jewish terrorists (or terrorists of any other religious stripe), and that Muslims are all militant, inherently violent, more likely to engage in violence against civilians, and more likely than other Americans to be radicalized.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not interested in dialogue. That Muslims don’t help Christians in need. That Muslims can’t have Christians as friends, and are anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and intolerant of other faiths.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims don’t unequivocally denounce terrorism, that American Muslim leaders have not responded to radicalization in their community, that mosques are the source of radicalization, that 85% of mosques are run by radicals, that Muslims don’t cooperate with law enforcement.
Everyone “knows” that Muslims are not equivalent to real Americans, that they are the enemy within, and a fifth column, that good Muslims can’t be good Americans, that Muslims are not loyal to America, that they are not a part of our American heritage,
Everyone “knows” that Islam itself is the problem and makes Muslims “backward”, that Muslims have made no contribution to the West, that Islam is “of the devil”, a Crescent menace, a “green peril”, that was spread by the sword, an “evil encroaching on the United States”, and not a religion.
Everyone “knows” that this is a Christian nation, which the Muslims are trying to take over, starting with getting an Eid stamp which is the first step towards shariah law which is a threat to America, and a threat to our judicial system, by purposefully having more children than others to increase their numbers, and they will be the majority in this country in 20 years. Muslims are a threat to America
Everyone “knows” that the Muslims’ goal is world domination under a Caliphate, and the proposed Cordoba House in NYC is a demonstration of supremacism and triumphalism, and that Muslims planned to open it on the anniversary of 9/11.
Everyone “knows” that Islam is a monolith and all Muslims are the same, like the “Borg”. This means that every act committed by an individual who is a Muslim is directly attributable to Islam, and never because the individual is crazy, criminal, or perverted.
The problem is that what “everyone knows” is wrong. These self-righteous and incorrect statements are usually followed by a demand that the Muslim community do something about whatever is the false flag of the day or face the inevitable consequences.
Islamophobes falsely claim to see “JIHAD” PLOTS everywhere, particularly where they don’t exist. They, like Muslim extremists, don’t understand the true meaning of the term jihad. The Islamophobes have uncovered countless examples of “shocking”, non-existent Muslim jihad plots.
Islamophobes generalize specific incidents to reflect on all Muslims or all of Islam. Islamophobes consistently push demonstrably false memes such as: - we are in danger from creeping Sharia, - the Muslim population is increasing at an alarming rate, - 80% of American Mosques are radicalized, - There have been 270 million victims of “jihad” - There have been 17,000+ “Islamic terrorist” attacks since 9/11 - Muslims in government are accused of being Muslim Brotherhood plants, stealth jihadists, and creeping Sharia proponents and should be MARGINALIZED or excluded. Muslim and Arab organizations and individuals are connected to the infamous Muslim Brotherhood document or the unindicted co-conspirator label, or accused of not condemning Hamas, telling American Muslims not to talk to the FBI, of being “Jew haters”, etc.
There is a reason that many, even outside of the Muslim community see such demonization of Muslims as Islamophobic. There is a reason that the ADL has stated that Brigitte Gabriel’s Act for America, Pamela Geller & Robert Spencer’s Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), David Yerushalmi’s Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) are “groups that promote an extreme anti-Muslim agenda”. There is a reason that The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated SIOA as a hate group, and that these individuals are featured in the SPLC reports Jihad Against Islam and The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured prominently in: — the Center for American Progress reports “Fear Inc.” on the Islamophobia network in America and Understanding Sharia Law: Conservatives skewed interpretation needs debunking. — the People for the American Way Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism. — the NYCLU report Religious Freedom Under Attack: The Rise of Anti-Mosque Activities in New York State. — the Political Research Associates report Manufacturing the Muslim menace: Private firms, public servants, and the threat to rights and security. — The ACLU report Nothing to Fear: Debunking the Mythical “Sharia Threat” to Our Judicial System — in The American Muslim TAM Who’s Who of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab/Islamophobia Industry. There is a reason that the SIOA’s trademark patent was denied by the U.S. government due to its anti-Muslim nature. There is a reason that these individuals and organizations are featured in just about every legitimate report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.
See Resources for dealing with Islamophobes for many more reasons that these people cannot be trusted.
Sheila Musaji is the founding editor of The American Muslim (TAM), published since 1989. Sheila received the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2007 Islamic Community Service Award for Journalism, and the Loonwatch Anti-Loons of 2011: Profiles in Courage Award for her work in fighting Islamophobia. Sheila was selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of The Muslim 500: The World’s 500 Most Influential Muslims published since 2009 by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre in Amman, Jordan. Biography You can follow her on twitter @sheilamusaji ( https://twitter.com/SheilaMusaji )