The following talk recently took place at David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend in West Palm Beach, Florida (Nov. 17-20, 2011). The transcript follows.
Baroness Caroline Cox: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. In the House of Lords, we always begin on the minute. And a few people were still coming in, so I’ve delayed for a moment or two.
But I would like to start, if I may, by saying — thank all of you so much. I know it’s a beautiful day out there, and it was a horrible day yesterday. And yet, you’ve given up precious time in the sun and the beauty of this lovely part of your great nation to spend a bit of time with me this afternoon.
Also, since I’ve arrived, I’ve enjoyed — as I always do in your wonderful country — glorious American hospitality. I’d like to say thank you for that, and just mention that whenever I use that word, “hospitality,” I’m reminded, a little uncomfortably, of a definition of hospitality once suggested by one of our late archbishops, Lord [Cogham], who defined hospitality as the art of making someone feel at home when you wish they were at home.
We all know what that feeling is like, especially those who are hostesses amongst us.
But in an effort to prevent you, perhaps, wishing I was at home, what I thought I would do this afternoon would be to compress the essence of my message in a concentrated form, certainly within one hour. So if you want to go away — it’s billed for two hours — but after the first hour, then you won’t miss any of the message. Of course, if people want to discuss and have Q&A, I’m here and available. But if the sun or the shops entice you away from here after one hour, then you will have had the whole message. So I will not be the least bit offended if you walk out then, or even before then. But I just thought I would let you know that if you want to go after one hour, we will not necessarily keep going for the full two hours, except I should be available.
The subject, which I very much wanted to address — and can I ask, can you all hear me?
Baroness Caroline Cox: And can you all understand me?
Baroness Caroline Cox: Good. I know you heard Churchill’s famous dictum — two nations separated by a common language. And if my accent is difficult to understand, I will try to speak slowly. But if you can’t hear me and you want to, please do say so. If you can’t hear me and you don’t want to, well, then, that’s no big deal.
So what really brings us all together is, I think, the challenges to our spiritual, cultural and political heritage. We’ve had some wonderful presentations on those challenges here in the United States. So as I indicated last night, I wanted to share with you some of our experiences from the United Kingdom, and indeed from abroad — not in the States particularly, but in other countries. Because we are all part of one planet. And what actually happens in other continents is going to have an impact on us.
But first and foremost, I would like to pay tribute to those who paid the price for our freedoms in previous generations. Last Sunday in Europe, we kept Armistice Day, when of course we remember those who gave their lives in two world wars and those who have given their lives since those world wars. And I just have this great feeling of responsibility that I’ve inherited that freedom from those who gave their everything that we should have that freedom. And I have an obligation to try to pass that on undiminished to our children and to our grandchildren.
The challenges we face in the United Kingdom are many, from within and without. And they’ve combined to create a situation which has been said by one of our bishops, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali — who is an Anglican bishop but from Pakistan — that Britain has lost its soul.
Some of the indicators, some of the — if you like, the sort of symptoms of that and the causes behind it — aggressive secular humanism. You find that in many of our political leadership, in the media — as it stands — aggressive secular humanism, and misplaced multiculturalism, and extreme relativism. Anything goes. There’s nothing in any culture which is better than any other culture which therefore we should resist or be critical about as something that’s incompatible with our own cultural heritage, a very serious ignorance of our spiritual, cultural and political heritage; an education system that has not really taught our history for decades, and the onslaught, I’ll come to in a moment, of the Marxist-Leninist era. And divisions within the Christian churches — I think that applies very sadly in your own country, with the Episcopalian Church. But it means the churches are divided, and the trumpet is giving an uncertain call.
But amongst those contributing factors, the extreme relativism, the hedonism, or the flower power of the swinging ’60s — some of you may be young enough to remember the swinging ’60s — and the Marxist-Leninist influences in United Kingdom, and in Europe in general, in the ’70s and in the ’80s.
And just very briefly, I touched on that last night — but to amplify that, because we are really reaping the whirlwind of that — in higher education, as I mentioned last night, I had opposed, as head of a department of social sciences — in an academic department in our of our big London colleges — and out of a faculty of 20, 16 of my colleagues were Communist Party or further left. Their definition of education is not mine. They really did use every weapon. They used physical intimidation, academic blackmail, character assassination. And it was rough, tough stuff.
Just for one example — we used to have regular occupations of the college. Occupations were pretty violent. The far Left, the Communist Party and the further Left would actually take over physically the whole building. They would occupy. In order to get into the college, you would have to go through picket lines. And those picket lines would be pretty vicious, pretty aggressive. Got a lot of physical contact.
And inside, there would be an occupation collective that had been elected, ha ha, by the operation caucus. And they would decree what education — what might be taught for that particular day. There’d be a large sign up, as you went into the college building, with what was decreed to be taught for that day. Nothing to do with student syllabuses.
One day, I remember, went in, having run the gauntlet of the picket lines. And there was the large notice board of what was decreed by the occupation collective to be taught for that day — Marxism in the third world, Marxism and drugs, and then the Greenham Common Women. You had a cruise missile base in the United Kingdom at that time. And that Greenham Common Women were permanently encamped around in protest. Well, they were invited to the college to come and have a platform for their protest.
Well, I had a group of students. The majority of students were very delightful, open-minded, honorable people. And some older students, too, because we were a polytechnic, which specialized in vocational and professional education. So sometimes you had older students who wanted a career change, maybe to come into a profession like social work or teaching.
And I had a group of students who were desperate for a seminar. And I met them, and I said — well, I’m perfectly happy to have our seminar, of course. But you do realize there are bands of vigilantes who will come round and break up our session if it’s not been authorized by the occupation collective. Well, they said — no, we’re desperate. We’ve got University of London exams in the next two months.
So we had our seminar. And being a seminar, there’s no furniture. So I had to put myself on a chair across the door and started teaching criminology, which was quite appropriate at that time. And after about 25 minutes, a band of vigilantes came, banged on the door, shouted through and said — what’s going on in here? And I said through the door — I opened it a quarter of an inch — I said — well, this is a BSC sociology criminology seminar. It’s what I’m paid to teach, what these students have paid to study; and I’m going to continue teaching it. And if you want to disturb us, you’re going to have to knock me off my chair. And if I get hurt in the process, I will see you are personally liable. And I banged the door shut, as loud as I could from a couple of inches, as a defiant gesture. And they shouted through — we’ll be back, dearie.
Well, I managed to sort of contemplate on the latest theories of deviance, which seemed particularly timely. And I had a moral victory. I had virtually the whole hour before they could actually muster a group of students who were quite brave enough to come in and force their way in and knock me off that chair, and subject those students to vitriolic verbal abuse.
Has a happy ending. Because at the beginning of the next academic year, the leader of the assault came to see me, looking slightly sheepish, and said — Caroline, would you mind being my academic tutor for this year?
I said — Tony, I’m delighted, I love living dangerously.
I got to know Tony very well. And he was an older student. He’d actually served for a good 10 years below-decks on merchant oil tankers — not exactly a soft life. And I remember he said to me one day, which was very revealing — he said — do you know, Caroline — forgive my language — it takes a hell of a lot of courage to ask to have you as a tutor. Nearly all the final-year students would like to have you as a tutor. Most dare not ask, because they know the other staff will fail their exams.
This is London in 1970s, someone who’s worked below-decks on an oil tanker, saying it takes a lot of courage to ask to have you as a tutor. Such was the level of intimidation.
Well, I could tell you many other stories, stories I remember — we had, again, a slightly older student, an American lady. And she had just recently been widowed. She’d lost her husband in an attack on the New York Metro. And she gave a seminar paper on the family. And the Marxist lecturer just ridiculed her in front of everyone, ripped up her seven-hour paper and called her a bushwa bag. The intimidation is so real.
Well, I just felt I couldn’t let this happen. So I fought that battle, tried to stand for what I stood for, which is the pursuit of truth within the canons of academic rigor and, as a Christian, for love. What was going on around me was hatred and untruth.
Those were tough nine years. But during that nine years, I discerned that it wasn’t only happening there in that particular college. It was happening throughout the soft underbelly of higher education throughout the land.
And one of the things that really worried me was I would attend faculty meetings, and I would see how the good degrees were going to be given to the ideologically converted students. And having got their good degrees, they were then, decided by the faculty, going to be placed in key institutions, in key places, throughout our society. They would be placed, they’d be fed into, teacher training. They’d be fed into social work, fed into the media, fed into the trade unions.
So what was going on was what we called the drip effect — working with students, undermining any appreciation of what was precious in our political and cultural heritage, and actually injecting hatred, anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, and a real hatred of our society, and a deep, deep cynicism. And of course, they were the ones who got the good degrees. And we’re reaping the whirlwind now. Because they are now in key places in teacher education, in the media, in politics. And that is the legacy.
While deeply concerned about what was going on, I felt that I had to write a book. Called it “The Rape of Reason.” As I mentioned last night, I had two coauthors who were not from the epicenter of violence; they were from the relatively sane areas of physics and mathematics.
But they attended governors meeting, they were on the board of governors of the college. And the governors meetings used to be attacked by the militants. They used to find an aperture in the seating and get fire hoses, and douse the governors meetings. I mean, the violence was endemic and frequent.
Well, we wrote that book. But I wouldn’t write and run, so I was going to back to face the music with my Marxist-dominated faculty, and slightly nervous. And I really thought it might be the end of me. This was the days of the Red Brigades in Britain, when violence was very real.
But the day before the book was due to be published, I had a telephone call from someone whom I’d never met, but a very good columnist. In those days, Bernard Levin had three articles a week in the famous London Times. And the day before the book was due to be published, was busy getting the kids ready for school. And my husband called up the stairs and said — Bernard Levin is on the phone. I said — oh, yeah? Well, he was.
He said — I’ve just read your book. I think it’s the most important book for the future of democracy I’ve read for the last 10 years. I’m going to cover it in tomorrow’s Times. And he gave us a wonderful trilogy. He’d only ever done a trilogy before over [Sorv Netzin] and Mozart, so we’re in good company. But what mattered, of course — that got that message out.
And I was told — then letters came in from all over the country — yes, what you’ve described as happening in your college — it’s happening here, it’s happening here. And it really was an onslaught on [a] whole generation. As I say, we’re now reaping the whirlwind. Because those — either they’re ideologically committed or those whose values were totally undermined and now in the key places — which perhaps is why it’s not surprising that our BBC, many of us feel, is extremely biased, extremely partial. And the head of religious broadcasting on the BBC now — religious broadcasting for the BBC — is now a Muslim.
So they’ve been playing the long game, and they’ve been using the results of that communist onslaught. Many people now do not believe we have anything worth defending, anything which they feel might need to be deterred. And where there is a vacuum, it’s liable to be filled with alternative ideologies, belief systems and role models.
One alternative belief system which is introducing beliefs and practices inherently incompatible with the principles and values of our political and cultural heritage is political and militant Islam, or Islamism. And this is my bottom-line statement — strategic, political, militant Islam is, I believe, the greatest threat today to our economic, political, spiritual and cultural heritage, certainly in the United Kingdom; I would suggest, certainly in Europe; and I would also suggest, certainly in your nation.
Hasten to add that in terms of individuals, the vast majority of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims are law-abiding and hospitable people. In the apartment block which I live in, in the People’s Republic of Brent in North London, I actually have an Afghan family above me and an Afghan family on the same level. And they are gracious, hospitable people. Who knows what, if a situation develops and they’re put under pressure by their own militant community, what they will do. But inherently, not all individual Muslims are rabid, violent people.
But there is a growth of militant Islamists and politically strategic Muslims who are working to achieve global domination by various strategies. Or I might use the word “jihad.” Jihad, as you know, can — and they will tell you in interfaith dialogues — just mean struggle for a good life. But of course, it can mean conquest by any means.
Where possible, we must extend hands of friendship to Muslims who are seeking to live peaceably and/or to redefine Islam in terms of peaceful coexistence and religious tolerance. Come back to that a little bit later.
In my parliamentary initiative at the moment in United Kingdom, with a private member’s bill, to try to deal with Sharia law, there are some brave Muslims who are standing alongside us. And they are risking a great deal by so doing. And we must give hands of friendship to them. Because they may be some hope for the future of Islam. But it’s not those Muslims who are driving the international — or, indeed, the national — agenda, and the various kind of strategies or jihads which are being waged — legal, economic, political, cultural, humanitarian aid, demographic and military.
Just one or two examples — mentioned, we already have, Sharia law in United Kingdom. It came in without any public debate, without any parliamentary debate. I suspect you have it in United States. It comes in. It comes in through the mosques, it comes in through the communities.
Now, some aspects of Sharia law, as I said, have already been introduced. It’s utterly unacceptable, as it violates the fundamental principles on which the British legal system is based. It violates the principles of equality before the law, as between men and women, between Muslims and non-Muslims; and the freedom to choose and change religion.
Even in the United Kingdom, if a Muslim wishes to change their faith, and to become a Christian or join another faith community, the intimidation is severe. Many have had to go into hiding. Even in Britain. And their families pay a price. So that’s in United Kingdom, what’s been a haven of freedoms for long time.
There are believed to be over 80 Sharia courts in United Kingdom. Last count, I think, was known to be 85, but there’ll be many we don’t know about. And the fundamental tenants of Sharia law which are inherently discriminatory against women — many women are suffering to such an extent that they claim their plight in United Kingdom is worse than the countries from which they came. I’ll give one or two examples in a moment how they’re suffering in Britain today.
Just very briefly — if you don’t know your Islam, you don’t know your Sharia law — just some of the examples of the gender discrimination inherent in any form of Sharia law — inheritance provisions — girls and women only receive one half of any legacy given to boys and to men. Inequality in access to divorce — a husband can unilaterally divorce his wife, sometimes merely by declaring the divorce three times. Constraints, however, apply to a wife who wishes to divorce her husband. She may have to obtain her husband’s permission to apply to a Sharia council or court for a ruling. She may have to pay money for this. She may have to ask her husband for that money, and he may not give it to her. And she’s often just completely trapped.
I remember talking just relatively recently to a lady who’s a grandmother, who became widowed in the United Kingdom, a Muslim. She wanted to remarry as a widow. She went to the imam in her local Sharia court, and he said — you have to have the permission of a male relative. Well, she said — I’m widowed, I have no husband. I’ve got no family in this country. I don’t have a male relative here to give me permission, if I must have permission. He said — well, you must find a male relative. Well, the only male relative I have is a seven-year-old grandson in Jordan. Imam said — well, you’ve got to get his permission.
She had to trail to Jordan — and I’ve seen the copy of the letter, the little permission note, in Arabic, in a rather childish hand, of this seven-year-old boy giving his grandmother permission to marry as a widow in the United Kingdom today. What humiliation. But it’s for real.
Many other examples — polygamy. A man who divorces his wife is entitled to marry again under Sharia law and is permitted four wives. A divorced wife may not remarry without conditions.
Just an example here of polygamy — again, speaking to one of the Muslim women in Britain today. She has described how she was subjected to really gross domestic violence. She was hospitalized. Her husband would not give her a passport to the hospital. I think [in case] she got her passport back, just [gave] the details. And then the community put such pressure on her that she would not take her case to the police to get protection from further domestic violence. So she had to return to her abusing husband.
She then went to the imam and the Sharia court to try to get protection from him. And he just said — no, go back and give your husband a second chance. Happened more than once. And she went on being violently abused. I eventually came across her in a refuge. But her husband has gone back to their own country of origin and got another wife. And so, that is polygamy, and may well have more than a second; may well have a third or fourth wife now.
And one of the Muslim women said that very often, the men will go back to their countries of origin, and deliberately go to villages and find very vulnerable, illiterate girls; so when they come to Britain, they will not know how to claim their rights, they won’t know how to seek help. So if they’re abused, they won’t know what to do about it. And they often have a Taliban-like existence, trapped in their homes while their husbands do the shopping. And they are really living immured and virtually imprisoned in Britain, some of these multiple wives, in Britain today.
Custody of children — children born to a woman who is divorced are legally, according to Sharia law, liable to go under guardianship and be placed in the father’s care from the age of seven years upwards. So a divorced wife may well lose her husband and her children.
Rape — if a woman wants to bring a charge of alleged rape, she is obliged to provide four independent male witnesses. So easy to do, isn’t it? This is so outrageous, but it’s where it’s at.
And domestic violence — a husband is allowed to beat his wife, subject to certain limitations sanctioning domestic violence. Limitations basically are, you can beat where it won’t be visible. And so many women are suffering systematic domestic violence to the level of grievous bodily harm in the UK today.
Unequal witnesses — in any Sharia court, a woman’s evidence is counted as half the value of a man’s. And unregistered marriages — marriages, so-called, which are not marriages according to UK law — they take place in mosques, but they’re not legally registered. So the woman is not married according to British law.
And very briefly — this is from a different source — but many women in Muslim communities in Britain believe — and men who know better can benefit by failing to correct their error — that a marriage in a mosque or before imams in Britain constitutes a valid marriage. In the event of a dispute, in an attempt to enforce their rights through the British courts, they’re shocked to discover that, unless married in one of the very few mosques registered as places for civil ceremony, they’re not validly married in the eyes of British law.
I asked a question about this in the House of Lords last year. And I said to the minister — my noble lord — as we say — could the noble lord say what protection or what recourse to any rights does a Muslim woman have in the United Kingdom who is married in a mosque, but not civilly registered? What rights does she have as a divorcee or do her children have? The minister had no reply. They are left completely without rights.
And intimidation — the long arm of intimidation reaches out to prevent many of the women seeking the help they desperately need. The reality is that for many Muslims, Sharia courts are, in practice, part of an institutionalized atmosphere of intimidation backed by the ultimate sanction of a death threat.
Just two examples — there’s a book in United Kingdom. It’s well worth — you see it here. It’s called “The Imam’s Daughter.” It’s a true story. I know the author who ghost-wrote the story, and he’s a man of great integrity. So I trust everything he’s written. And it describes how this woman, as a young girl, as young as seven, was abused by her father, the imam, regularly in the cellar of their home. And she was raped from the age of seven upwards, and brutally treated. The mother tried to defend the daughter — she was beaten, so she gave up trying to defend her daughter. So the girl suffered continuous and harrowing, violent domestic abuse and rape.
Eventually, at school, she did go to the social worker in the school to try and get some help. When she got home that afternoon — when she got home, she found that the social worker from the school, to whom she’d gone in a desperate state for help, had referred her case to a culturally compatible social worker. So when she got home, sitting next to her father on the couch in their living room was the Muslim social worker, laughing away with her father. And that girl knew that that afternoon, she would have an even worse time than usual in the basement below their house.
Eventually, she did manage to escape. They came after her to kill her. I tried to get in touch with this lady to get evidence for my bill that’s currently in the House of Lords. So I got in touch with my friend who ghost-wrote her book. And he said — got in touch with her, and she said no, I’m sorry, I am still on the run. I am too frightened to meet. On the run, frightened to meet, in Britain today? Yes.
And the long arm of intimidation goes further abroad. I was speaking to another Muslim lady who’d suffered violent domestic abuse, again so bad she was hospitalized. The community refused to allow her to take the case to the police to get protection. Again, the imam sent her back to give her husband a second chance. She continued to be abused. Husband then divorced her to get another wife and went off to get another wife. She wanted to get a life herself. So she wanted to get an Islamic divorce.
She went to the Sharia court. And the judge there said — well, you’ve got to get your marriage certificate. So she asked her husband for the marriage certificate. He said — oh, I’ve not got it, it’s back in our country of origin. Well, her family back in country of origin went to her husband’s family to get her marriage certificate. They beat up her younger brother, because she had brought shame on the family by trying to divorce her husband. And they wouldn’t give the marriage certificate. She dare not pursue that, because she’s afraid worse things will happen to her family back home. So she is left, seven years later, unable to get a divorce, unable to get a life, and suffering continuing pressure from the community not to do anything about it. Britain today.
I think you may find some of this going on below the surface in your own country. In a totally different context, not to do with marriage but to do with intimidation, I was in upstate New York earlier on this year, and I won’t be more specific than that. And a schoolteacher was talking to me. And he said he was talking to a young Muslim boy — it’s a high school — a student in his school. And one day, the boy said to this teacher — you’re one of the lucky ones. You’re going to have a choice. To which the schoolteacher said to the lad — what do you mean, going to have a choice? He said — well, you’re going to have a choice. You’re a Christian. You can either choose to become one of us, or we’d be — and then the boy said to the teacher — I could tell you a lot more, but I’d be in trouble if I did. This is in your own country, upstate New York. What’s being taught in those families? What attitudes in some of your young people, growing up here in the States?
Well, in an attempt to try and do something about this, of course we must speak up and speak out. But ultimately, it’s only legislation is really going to begin to try to contain this utterly unacceptable situation, this threat to our democracy.
So I’m introducing a private member’s bill, the Arbitration and Mediation Services Equality Bill, to begin to open up the issue of discussion on Sharia law, beginning with the issue of gender discrimination and the women who are suffering in our country. But I hope, by introducing this legislation, we will open up an opportunity for serious, informed, sensitive discussion on a subject which at the moment is all too taboo.
(Inaudible) said to me — aren’t you brave? And I said — well, someone has to do it. We cannot go on. I don’t know if in the States you have the phrase “the elephant in the room.” No one dares talk about this subject. Someone has got to get this subject talked about and try to do something about it politically.
I’m happy to say this initiative is supported by a wide coalition. And in the political world, we have to use coalitions, including church leaders. Our former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, is very much on side, as [is a] former Bishop of Rochester, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, the National Secular Society, One Law for All organization.
Various Muslim groups — all credit to them — there’s a group called the British Muslims for a Secular Democracy. And a very courageous girl, Tehmina Kazi, is prepared to speak up and speak out on this; and human rights groups working with women who are affected by Sharia law and are suffering from it, and who are prepared to let their stories be told — most of them not sufficiently confident, or too terrified, to come and speak in person — but for us to disguise their identities, change their names, not mention their countries of origin; but put together a booklet of case studies. But the fact they’re too terrified to speak is, again, a condemnation of how far we’ve gone in Britain in terms of intimidation.
Moving then from Sharia law to other forms of jihad or attempts to take over the institutions of the West — we’re already compromised by the introduction of Sharia banking and Sharia finance. And so are you in United States. While it may seem harmless, it is extremely insidious and designed to undermine the strength of Western currency, and eventually to bring down the Western capitalist system.
People have written very well on this subject, so I won’t embark on it. Rachel Ehrenfeld has written very well; paid a high price for writing it. And the most recent book is a book by Patrick Sookhdeo on Sharia finance.
Political — Islam is using the freedoms of democracy to try to destroy the democracy and the freedoms it enshrines. An example here — about four or five years ago, a bill was going through Parliament. It was a big bill — serious organized crimes. Well, it was being rushed through Parliament, it was towards the end of the parliamentary session. But fortunately, some of us were able to read between the lines of this very big bill and discern a particular provision which would have made it a criminal offense to say anything critical about Islam, a criminal offense to say anything positive about another faith, to proselytize; and a criminal offense to make jokes about Islam. And that could have landed anyone who committed those crimes with a seven-year prison sentence. What price freedom of speech?
Well, fortunately, we were able to discern this potential provision within that bill. We unpicked it. We put amendments in the House of Lords.
Now, one of the things that our Muslim friends are very good at doing, and so are the liberals, if you dare speak out against Islam, is accuse you of being racist. So I thought — okay, well, that’s one we can quash.
So I had a meeting in the House of Lords with leaders of our black churches. And it didn’t take very long for them to understand what was at stake. So many of them had come from countries, which they were trying to get away from, where Sharia prevailed. And so, that was a meeting on Thursday.
The next Monday was what we call the second reading of the bill, the first debate on the bill, in the House of Lords. And as I arrived at Parliament, to my amazement, I suddenly saw hundreds and hundreds of wonderful black Christians and Asian Christians [under] a banner saying all the things that should be said, like freedom of speech, freedom to choose and change religion. And there was a huge demonstration. Just one slight problem — I hadn’t got permission for it. It was there.
So I went up there. Then I saw the police vans all arrive in huge numbers, and the police in riot gear. So I went up to the senior Metropolitan Police officer and said — I’m really sorry, officer, I think I may have something to do with this. He said — is this your demonstration? I said, well no, it’s actually the voice of the people, officer. But he said — well, it looks remarkably like an organized demonstration to me. And look at all those placards. And I said — well, I’m sorry officer, I only spoke to them last Thursday. This is their response. But I promise you, they will give you no trouble, officer.
So they behaved like a dream. They didn’t chant; they sang “Amazing Grace,” took off the clouds. And they left the place tidier than they found it. And the police said it was the best demonstration they’d had for years. And so later, when we wanted subsequent demonstrations for later stages of the bill, I had no problem whatever in getting permission for those subsequent demonstrations.
So eventually, the amendments went through the House of Lords. But when it came to the bill going to the House of Commons — because all our bills go through both houses — Tony Blair, under pressure from the Muslim Council of Britain, was determined to remove the freedom amendments.
Well, the black churches all gathered again, and they sang “Amazing Grace” again, and they took of the skies again. And then they went and lobbied Labour members of Parliament. The first bill to remove the freedom amendments, our precious freedoms of speech, was lost by 10 votes. The second vote, which would have lost those freedoms, was lost by one vote. God is a good mathematician. But our freedom in Britain hung by a thread that day. And they will come back with more attempts to stifle freedom of speech. They do not want criticism. Because they actually, ultimately, don’t have answers to the critics.
Very briefly, cultural jihad — Islam is investing massively in education in Western countries including yours. Islam is vesting massively in education in Western countries. For example, in our universities, even in our theological colleges — centers of Islamic study and schools.
I went recently to one of our theological colleges, Lampeter in Wales, which is like a kind of Welsh Oxford or Cambridge. I went to the Center for Islamic Studies. And the first thing I saw in this Welsh university was a huge brass plaque with a mosque on it. And we are so grateful to so-and-so and so-and so for all the support he’s given to this Center for Islamic Studies. That’s extremely intelligent, isn’t it? Is there going to be any really critical discussion of Islam, is there going to be any serious balanced discussion of Israeli-Palestine conflicts, when you have funding from those sources?
I was told by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali that there’s hardly a theological college in Britain that is not now compromised by Islamic funding. You’ve got to give credit. They’re thinking strategically.
And schools — Muslim schools in Britain — there are now many of them. A recent Channel 4 program had an undercover study — what was going on in one of those Muslim schools. And it was spine-chilling. The teaching — they were teaching rabid anti-Semitism; anti-Americanism, and sorry about that; anti-Hinduism, anti-faith — rabid jihadist teaching. And then, in the sort of free time, which was being filmed, the older boys were really, virulently attacking and brutalizing and beating up the smaller boys. That’s bad enough in itself.
But that school very recently had an inspection from our government inspectors, who meant to ensure that what goes on in our schools is proper. Do you know, it got top-rank marking for tolerance? That school, for tolerance. Well, they’re very clever when the inspectors are there. Everything [that would go on] would be lovely. Was only an undercover film, with the cameras that were there — which they didn’t know were there — that showed the truth behind that tolerant school.
Unidentified Audience Member: What happened?
Baroness Caroline Cox: I think — well, probably not very much, just yet — I think there’s going to be other investigation. But there is a lot of great concern of what is going on with this ideological attempt to take over our educational institutions.
In our universities, we have [called] fresher’s days for new university students. So much money goes to the Islamic student societies, their [stalls], they are wonderfully furbished; obviously well well-funded and, of course, extremely charming and full of appeal. And it’s said that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in Britain today. And many of those are young people.
So one has to give Islam the credit — it is thinking strategically. And to go back to the Marxist days, it’s trying to get a cultural hegemony.
Some Muslims are very clever to try to deter any critical discussion of Islam by accusing those that engage in discussion of Islamophobia and contravening political correctness. We all run the gauntlet of being labeled, stigmatized, as Islamophobic.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey gave a very responsible talk on Islam. He was given by the Islamic Human Rights Society, I think it was, the award of the Islamophobe of the Year award. It’s not a nice thing to have to carry, though I think it may perhaps deserve some applause.
Demographic — in countries such as Britain, many Muslims, as I’ve said, have polygamous marriages. In particular, many Muslim men use the relatively easy access to divorce available under Sharia to divorce their wives, remarry, bring their new wives to Britain. This often causes great distress to their previous wives, is inconsistent with our legal system, which forbids bigamy. But polygamy can take on, because they’re not legally married. Has implications for our demographic structure. Was recently reported the most popular name given to newborn boys in England is Mohammad.
So what to do on the home front? The time has come to draw a line in the sand, where necessary, to protect our precious fundamental freedoms and our vulnerable citizens, and providing education to appreciate our heritage of freedom. And we need also to look out, to look beyond our limited and limiting horizons in the UK, in Europe and, may I say, in the US; to see some of the issues in the wider world in perspective — to wake up and understand the dangers which confront us at home and abroad.
And very briefly, because it matters — the challenges abroad. Demographic, humanitarian and military jihad or strategies. In developing countries — and it does matter — you know, if we lose Africa to Islam, it’s going to change the world of geopolitics very, very significantly. Northern Africa — well, we know what’s happening there, the so-called Arab Spring. Sub-Saharan Africa, everything is at stake.
In developing countries, Muslims are using polygamy as a way of changing the demographic structure. In Uganda, a senior official said to a Christian leader — that’s fine, you Christians, you stay with your monogamy. We’ll practice our polygamy. Every Muslim man will marry four wives. They’ll each have at least eight children, so every Muslim man will produce over 30 children. This way, we’re going to take over your country. What to do about it?
Islam is investing economically, massively, in developing countries. Economic power brings political power. Islamic employment policy — this happens again in Uganda — often requires non-Muslims to convert to Islam in order to get employment. Again, a Christian leader said to us, quite desperate — if someone comes out of a Christian university in Uganda and wants a job, now all the main state-owned enterprises are Islamic-owned. They’re going to have to convert to Islam get a job. And they say — well, of course, your wife doesn’t need to convert. Well, forget it. If the man converts, you’ve lost that family.
And one of the Christian leaders said to us — while Islam invests for mission, and as long as capitalism only invests for profit, Islam will win.
I put that statement to one of my friends in the City of London after I got back — a Christian businessman. And I said — any chance at all that Western Christian business might think of investing for mission? He said — forget it. Said the only talk in the City of London is Mumbai, Dubai and Shanghai.
My friends, we’ve got to wake up. Business matters. And we’ve got to be prepared to get alongside Islam, and at least use part of our business portfolios to invest to protect the freedoms of people living in countries where Islam is thinking strategically and investing for mission.
And humanitarian aid as a means of conversion and conquest — Islam is investing massively in Sudan and in other countries. And — well, just one example — in Southern Sudan, where my humanitarian organization is doing a great deal of work, Christian leaders have a copy of a budget, fell into their hands. And it is the budget designed for the Islamization of Southern Sudan. Everything is spelled out — teacher training colleges, schools, hospitals, clinics. Twenty-nine million US dollars.
I was gone to Saudi Arabia, went to Libya when Khadafi was still there. And they’ve been pouring money into Southern Sudan, and Islamic aid organizations abound. To obtain Islamic aid [is] necessary either to be a Muslim or to convert.
And I’ve spoken to quite a lot of people. Shall never forget one blind young mum with a dying baby. And she said to me — you know, I could go to an Islamic organization and get aid and save my baby. But I know if I do, I’m going to have to convert to Islam. We’re Christians. That we will never do. We would rather live and die as Christians. What a choice. Difficult to make that call for yourself. To sacrifice your child for your faith? The ultimate sacrifice and anguish.
But it’s happening. Islamic aid is conditional. The biggest Islamic aid organization is called Dawah Islamia. It actually means “conversion.”
Church leaders in Southern Sudan, after the terrible war in which two million perished and four million were displaced, said — we are losing in peace what we managed to hang onto at such terrible cost in war. Where is Christian mission, or even secular aid organizations that don’t require conversion for help?
Very briefly — come travel with me to Sudan. I love Sudan. I was there over 30 times in the war in no-go areas, and we’re now working in Sudan in the challenging situations confronting that nation. The kinds of jihad in Sudan — military jihad by the Islamist regime in Khartoum. The National Islamic Front, an Islamist regime, took power in 1989. Immediately declared explicit military jihad against all who oppose it — which included moderate Muslims, as well as Christians of course, and traditional believers — a war in which two million perished; four million were displaced.
Every month, Khartoum would publish a list of airstrips that are open [do an] operation (inaudible) [Subidan], and the forbidden areas. And of course, it carried out its military offenses in the no-go areas, so no one could take aid to the victims or tell the world what it was doing. I went over 30 times to the forbidden areas throughout all of South Sudan. And Khartoum did not love me. They gave me a prison sentence for illegal entry. So thank you for being so inclusive and having a prison convict in your midst. I’m serving a sentence in absentia at the moment.
They also then said they’d shoot down the planes which we flew into the no-go areas. But we had brave pilots who would give a false destination, fly around with their legit aid planes — last minute snuck down to a forbidden airstrip. And we’d have the great privilege of spending several days with the local people.
But the scorched earth policy, right across (inaudible) from [Bura Gazal] in the west to Southern Blue Nile in the east, and scorched earth everywhere. A little lad in all that remains of his church. And slavery as a weapon of jihad.
The objectives — and I spoke to the Arab traders who used to come north and south and bring back slaves — the objectives were explicitly Islamization of those not already Muslims, Arabization of the African peoples. So they would take predominantly women and children. Children, of course, you could take and enslave and bring them up as you wish to bring them up. Women — abuse them sexually, change the genetic identity of their children in perpetuity.
I had the privilege of helping to rescue many hundreds of slaves. This is a picture we really shouldn’t have to see in our lifetime. These are slaves coming back from slavery. In my day. People whom we had to help to buy back their freedom. What an appalling thing to have to do.
You see the Muslim trader there. He’s wrapped up so you can’t identify him. Because he knows when he goes back to the North, if he’s recognized as someone who’s undermined the jihad, the objectives of Arabization and Islamization, he’ll pay a high price. So although we had to pay a high price for the freedom of human beings, he might’ve paid a price with his life.
I was there when the slave raids were rampant. I was in this [badikan] village when the slave raids were going on all around. The local tribal chief received a message, a letter, signed by a general and a major of the government of Sudan. It began — Salam alaikum. Went on — you fools, we’re a force of 1,800 strong. We’re coming to [Niam Lel] at 3 o’clock in the morning, you’d better be ready for us — ma’salama.
I didn’t sleep very well that night. [In the] event the raid diverted to a nearby village, the casualties started coming in. This brave man tried to stop them taking a boy as a slave. He shot him in the face at point-blank range. All his face is sheared away. I tried to get the Red Cross to come and do a casualty evacuation. They couldn’t, they wouldn’t. Was a no-go area. Well, we did evacuate those casualties. That brave man died four days later in Kenya, I hope in less pain than in the bush. The others did recover. But this is just one tiny vignette out of years of jihad.
Little Deng, one of the boys we helped to rescue, has just come back with one of the traders, looking sad. Because he’s just learnt that in the raid when he’d be captured, both his parents had been killed. So he’s just discovered he is an orphan. Towards the end of my time with little Deng, did get a wistful little smile. Said — well, at least I’m home again now, and called my own name, Deng — which is the Dinka for rain. And rain is precious. So it means someone to be cherished. He said — I’m not longer called Abid, or the Arabic for “slave.”
My friends [no charge every] slave in the world today. But there are still tens of thousands who were abducted, missing enslaved in Sudan today. And when I recently met the president of the new nation of South Sudan, I said — Mr. President, what is your priority for advocacy? He said — slaves. He said — so many of my people are still missing enslaved.
And I was in Bahr el Ghazal in South Sudan just a month ago. And virtually every family I met still had someone missing enslaved. Will you please ask your representatives in Congress to put pressure on Khartoum to honor what should be its obligation — to free the remaining slaves? I doubt they will. But we have an obligation to speak for the captives.
Just very briefly, to bring you up to date — a comprehensive peace agreement was eventually signed in 2005 — brought some peace for South Sudan — the Referendum for Independence, which had a massive mandate for independence. And I had the privilege of being there as a guest of the government of the New Republic of South Sudan on its Independence Day on July the 9th. But it was a time of glory and gray.
South Sudan’s celebration of independence — but the wars continue. The New Republic of South Sudan, that glorious time — this was the clock for the countdown to freedom — free at last. Celebrations in the town of Juba — freedom at last. The new flag rising above the new nation. Hope, but so many challenges. Celebrations — at least they can face those challenges as a free nation. But the challenges — and Sudan does need your prayers, your help — humanitarian crises and conflicts in the North against its own people.
Look at this lady’s lovely smile. They’ll always smile. Look at her hand — leprosy. Khartoum denies leprosy. Well, there it is. What a privilege to hold that lady’s hand. I happened to try to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis. And St. Francis has a saying — pity weeps and turns away. Compassion weeps, puts out a hand to help. One of the things I love about my small NGO, HART — and we have our representatives of HART-USA here — is we can be there alongside those people, offering aid and advocacy on those frontlines of faith and freedom.
The Republic of Sudan, what used to be the old North Sudan — the President, Omar Al-Bashir, has been wanted by the International Criminal Court for two or three years now. He has now — and this is very serious for all of us strategically — has declared his intension to make the Republic of Sudan, the old North Sudan, into an Arabic Islamic nation with full Sharia law. Wars and [tragedy] of war continue — he’s attacking his own people. The people of the Nuba Mountains have recently suffered military offenses. Seventy thousand have fled their homes. Many are dying in caves.
We have partners in the Nuba Mountains. I was there not so long ago. The casualties, the caves — they still smile. The casualties of children, the child deaths. Hiding in the caves — there are snakes in those caves. But the people say — we’re more afraid of the bombs than of the snakes. But they die from the snakes.
And Khartoum’s military forces are now attacking Blue Nile with aerial bombardment, denying access by aid organizations. Four hundred thousand have fled, many into beleaguered, battered South Sudan; some into Ethiopia.
So we leave Sudan. For those of you who have a faith, please pray for the future of Sudan and South Sudan. It is a very dire situation.
And very briefly, abroad — Nigeria — the combination there of military jihad; demographic change to achieve political control. I’ve been in Northern Nigeria early this year. We go every year, we have partners there. This is Bauchi State, a Sharia state. There are now 12 Sharia states in Northern Nigeria, where Christians have a very rough time. Bauchi State — you see this church destroyed; the mosque, of course, still standing. They’ll still worship in the ruins.
Dogo Nahawa, the village outside Jos, the capital of Plateau State — 450 Christians were murdered in that village one night last year. Children — obvious posttraumatic stress. And the mass grave. They have to play near where their parents, their siblings, their friends are buried. The machete wounds.
This house — the wife of the man there, the younger man — she was pregnant. She and three of their children were burned to death. A fourth, who tried to run away, was macheted to death.
This is happening in our time. But they’ll still worship among the ruins. A Roman Catholic church — you go so often to the ruined churches, the empty shells, and the people will still be worshiping with joy in the ruins. The University Church in Jos, in Plateau State. Do you ever hear about this in the media? Course not. Do you know why? Because the BBC reporter for Northern Nigeria is a Muslim. They think strategically. They think the long plan.
An Evangelical church — all the denominations. And this is violence this year. The Anglican Bishop of Bauchi — one of his churches destroyed this year. COCIN, the Church of Nigeria — an event which never took place, an invitation, to [house a hymnbook]. But the church lives, the church grows. And it doesn’t take megabucks to rebuild. It only cost about $6,000 — no, 2,000 — $4,000 to rebuild a church.
Please can we remember those who are holding the frontlines of faith and freedom out there? They still are holding those front lines, or they could be dead tomorrow.
As I begin to draw to a conclusion — just one of the heroes in Nigeria, and one of our partners in HART, Archbishop Ben Kwashi. Now, Ben Kwashi is an Anglican bishop. His wife, Gloria — I love her. Whenever there’s a jihad attack, and a village is destroyed, she and the other women will get together a rackety-packety old bus, they’ll fill it with clothes and cooking pots. They’ll go down in the middle of the rainy season [and all] in the epicenter of the violence. My nickname for her is Gloria in excelsis. She is a lovely lady.
But I had a terrible e-mail about four years ago. Militants went to their home to kill Bishop Ben. He wasn’t there. Beat up one of his sons. And my beloved friend, Gloria — they took her, they gang-raped her. The violated her with broken glass and splintered wood, and they trampled on her so harshly that she lost her sight. It’s since been restored by surgery in the United States, for which — thank you.
But Bishop Ben, of course, went home immediately. After 24 hours, he sent an e-mail. And he said — I’ve now been home for 24 hours. I’ve had time to sit and think, and pray. And I’ve had a good laugh. Because I remember when I was a little boy, my mum used to pray so hard I’d be a Christian. And I know when churches in Nigeria get into trouble, churches in the West pray for us. So maybe we should get into trouble more often.
And then he turned serious — I’ve just come back from the hospital. My beloved Gloria was able to sit to receive holy communion. We had a wonderful time of prayer and worship together. We just prayed to God that — we praised God we’d been found worthy to suffer for His kingdom. And we just prayed to God that all Gloria’s pain, anguish and humiliation would be used for His kingdom, His glory, and the strengthening of His church.
Bishop Ben wrote the foreword to this book, the most recent book to come out on the persecuted church. Their story is in there, along with the stories of many other countries where persecution is going on — so many of them at the hands of militant Islam.
But when we were there last year, Bishop Ben also gave us this message — if we have a faith worth living for, it is a faith worth dying for. And they assuredly are prepared to die. There’ve already been so many martyrs this year in Northern Nigeria. Don’t you let us compromise the faith we are living and dying for.
My friends, we in Britain are compromising that faith. We’ve allowed Sharia law into Britain. We are compromising their faith.
He gave us his other challenge, too — if you don’t resist now, your grandchildren are going to have to fight the battles you did not have the courage to fight. And, in a totally different context — and I don’t know that the Archbishop of Sudan heard Archbishop Ben’s words — but in a different context, a gentle man, the Archbishop of Sudan — who sees people suffer too much already, anyway — said almost exactly the same words — if you don’t resist now, your grandchildren are going to have to fight the battles you didn’t have the courage to fight. But they’re going to have to fight with guns.
My friends, what to do? Don’t try to forestall that situation, so our grandchildren don’t have to pay the price of battles we’ve failed to fight. As I’ve tried to indicate, Islam is thinking strategically in every sphere. Christianity in particular, the West in general — we’re not thinking strategically. Without compromising our democratic principles, it is time to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough. Lines in the sand.
Well, as I say, my particular initiative in the United Kingdom is to try to raise in the parliamentary arena some discussion about legislation to deal with Sharia law in the UK. Because ultimately, it’s only in our respective parliaments or parliamentary spheres, or in your Congress, will really effective change take place. It’s important to talk in conferences, to raise awareness, to get the public involved. But the political arena is where the final battles in a democracy must be fought.
We must say no to compromise of Sharia finance and banking. We must protect academic freedom, ensure that Islamic funding is not compromising staff appointments in teaching in any educational institution.
My good friend who set up Center for Social Cohesion, who was here yesterday — and I’m just learning his name at the moment — he’s — thank you, Douglas Murray — yeah, just said farewell as he was leaving — Douglas Murray. His organization brought out a very good, very cleverly named report, called “Degrees of Influence.” In other words, how universities were being infiltrated by Islamic funding, and how their degrees were being influenced by Islamic funding.
Christianity in particular, the West in general, must regain holistic mission. As I’ve said, Islam is pouring money into developing countries, building a mosque, a school, a clinic. You go through Kenya, you go to so many African countries — mosques everywhere. Christianity used to build a church, a school, a clinic. And we don’t need 29 million. I mean, my little organization, HART — it only takes 5,000 pounds to build a primary healthcare clinic; 2,000 to rebuild a church. That’s $8,000; $5,000. Little bit less. So we don’t need the big aid organizations. But we’ve got to be on those frontlines of faith and freedom. Without a vision, the people perish.
So in conclusion — I would urge us all perhaps to think about why it is that those who value freedom must wake up. We must begin to think strategically to counter the advances being made in so many areas by Islam. Otherwise, irreversible ground will be lost, and we will be failing in our responsibility to pass on undiminished our spiritual, cultural and political heritage to our children and grandchildren.
We must provide authentic visions and commitments, a balanced appraisal of our history; including appreciation of what is good in our political, cultural and spiritual heritage. Vibrant, convincing role models — we had a wonderful one at lunch today — engagement with those who are suffering from persecution. We mustn’t be so inward-looking that we forget those who are out on those frontlines of freedom. And informed prayer and advocacy for our people and our nations.
And our little motto, as I conclude — sometimes when we look around the world, the problems are so legion, the situations are so complex, you can almost feel paralyzed. You don’t know where to begin. So perhaps it’s just paralyzing, you turn away and don’t do anything. But our little motto in HART — we’re very small, but we always say to ourselves — I cannot do everything, but I must not do nothing. And friends, if together we all do something, we really can make a difference, before it is too late to defend the precious freedoms we have inherited.
Thank you for letting me share the pain, the passion, with you.
I pointed at that picture — I wasn’t pointing to me. It’s picture of Archbishop Ben. They are the heroes and heroines.
That is the end of my formal presentation. Of course, happy to take any questions, have discussion. But you’ve heard the message, if you want to go out in that lovely sunshine or find some shops.
Unidentified Audience Member: I would like to help (inaudible) help fund something, do you have any like tax-deductible on what you’re doing in America that we could help you?
Baroness Caroline Cox: Thank you for the lovely question. The question — I’ll repeat, in case you can’t hear the questions — I’d love to help, do we have any tax-deductible? Yes, we certainly do. And I have my two USA alter-egos here. I wonder if one of them would like to answer. Donna, would you like to answer that question? Donna Mundy?
Donna Mundy: Thank you all so much for being here. I’m Donna Mundy. I’m the executive director of HART-US.
And to answer your question, what we are — we are an organization here in the States. We’re a 501(c)(3) that works to promote Caroline’s work internationally. We also work with some organizations here in the States.
And I’d like to recognize Lee Miller, who is the founder of HART-US.
Was her vision that brought Caroline’s mission here to the US.
And I’ve got some information about how you can participate in HART. And then I also have my cards in the back, and this has my e-mail information on it, if you want to be an active partner.
And what we’re doing this year is really working to develop, in different states, almost like chapters of folks that will work with us and help support Caroline. And there may be people here who want to go on a mission with her, you know, to see firsthand some of the things that she’s done, which would definitely make us step outside our little area of comfort.
I am planning on doing something after the first of the year. I don’t ride roller coasters; I’m a merry-go-round person. So this is going to be quite an adventure for me to step out of my comfort zone. Lee has been in some of the areas with Caroline, and I’m certain she’d be delighted to talk with you. But I’m at the back table and would love to leave this information for you. Thank you.
And we have the books. Caroline has three of her books back here, and they’re $20 each. She’ll be glad to sign them for you if you’re interested. Thank you so much.
Baroness Caroline Cox: Yes, a question over here — sir?
Unidentified Audience Member: In the United States, there have been over 100 so-called honor killings.
Baroness Caroline Cox: Yes.
Unidentified Audience Member: The media reports them as acts of domestic violence. But also in New York, a wife asked for divorce; her husband beheaded her (inaudible). The police came, he said — I did it in the courts of Sharia. A girl is raped in Denver, Colorado; the father strangles her — again, in the courts of Sharia.
My question is, in the UK, does the British justice — how does the British justice system deal with this (inaudible)?
Baroness Caroline Cox: Thank you. Could you all hear that important question? I’ll just briefly repeat it.
A gentleman here said that here, in your own country, there’ve been crimes — so-called honor-related crimes. A woman was beheaded, I think, by her husband. And a girl — what was the other one, sir?
Unidentified Audience Member: (Inaudible — microphone inaccessible).
Baroness Caroline Cox: A daughter — yes. And both were deemed to be because of Sharia-compliant rulings and were therefore, as it were, condoned by the communities concerned.
Well, one of our concerns in the UK is where some of the Sharia courts are beginning to deal with those kind of situations, which are criminal behavior. And so it’s developing an alternative criminal system which is utterly unacceptable. And because the community will put such pressure on the perpetrators of those crimes not to bring shame onto the community, the people, the victims of those crimes, will accept the fact that they’re dealt with by the Sharia courts rather than with our English penal system. And so that is a very, very dangerous situation.
There was a stabbing of a boy in East London. And the community didn’t want it to be in the public domain, go to the public courts. So it was dealt with by the Sharia court. And the Sharia court just, as it were, dealt with it in the community. So it means that crimes are not actually coming before our legal system. And that is extremely serious.
And may I just say that the honor-related issue is something that is growing and is very, very much a matter of concern. The honor-related killings in the UK, similarly, are a matter of very, very serious concern. But again, they’re controlled very often by the community and so may not reach the public penal system.
Unidentified Audience Member: (Inaudible — microphone inaccessible) because they don’t let out that information. It’s not known if an individual has killed, murdered or whatever. I mean, your police officers (inaudible) —
Baroness Caroline Cox: We can do extremely closed communities, where many of these things are contained within those communities, so they don’t come out to the public knowledge. And/or, for example, in cases of domestic violence, where women have suffered really grievous bodily harm to the extent to being hospitalized — if they’re hospitalized, unless they ask the police to prosecute, take the case forward, then the police can’t intervene. So — because the victim has to make a case to the police. And if the community puts such pressure on the victims not to prosecute, then they get away with it.
One of the things that my bill would do, if it goes on the statute books, will be to give the police the right to intervene without being asked by the victim. But at the moment, the victim has to ask the police. And the communities put such pressure on the victims not to bring shame on the community that the victims don’t prosecute.
What a wonderful array of hands. I’ll start with you, and I’ll work around. Yes?
Unidentified Audience Member: It seems to me that the Muslims would not be making these kinds of cultural advances if it were not for the billions of dollars from foreign money that’s available [to be paid in] oil. Is there any way that you can imagine by which legislation could [put] a halt to this type of funding that leads to these [various] activities?
Baroness Caroline Cox: Well, thank you for the question. If the amount of money that is coming in — well, it’s coming in by so many different routes. The money that’s going to education institutions — well, the education institutions are perfectly free to accept the funding. And so it’s very hard to stop that. And as I mentioned earlier, on the educational aspect of what I was discussing, this is part of a very significant and very intelligent strategic approach to try to get the kind of cultural hegemony, which of course — the point was made yesterday so well, I think by — in the previous — yesterday afternoon — the Muslims are copying very, very closely a lot of the communist tactics. And this is one of the ways they’re trying to get a cultural hegemony — by getting massive influence in our universities and our education institutions.
So you can’t stop that kind of money coming in. You can’t necessarily stop money coming into so-called humanitarian organizations. There needs to be, I think, much more tracking of where money which has been collected for Islamic organizations is going. There’s been a lot of concern that a lot of that is going to support and finance jihad abroad. But that’s a different way, that’s money going out. Money coming in — it’s quite hard to check and control if it’s going to apparently legitimate destinations.
And of course, money going into mosques. Now, some of those mosques may be very, very radical mosques. But again, it’s quite hard to track and to expose that. Because these are internal affairs of the Muslim community. So until they can manifest themselves in something illegal, it’s hard to stop it. And it’s one of the big problems that we have in a democracy — those who’ll use the freedoms of democracy to destroy the democracy and the freedoms it enshrines.
Yes, moving around — yes?
Unidentified Audience Member: I have a comment and a question. The comment is on the Sharia-compliant finance. I think the danger is not only that it is another way to surreptitiously introduce Sharia law; also, under Sharia, part of Sharia-compliant finance is that two and a half percent of the proceeds of the transaction have to be given to Zakat or charity.
Baroness Caroline Cox: That’s right.
Unidentified Audience Member: Now, the five elements of Zakat aren’t exactly all what we consider charity, one of the five elements being jihad.
What I’m wondering is — the City of London tried to make itself into a global center of Sharia-compliant finance. Is there any oversight over the charities to whom this money is given? I know here in United States, many charities have been successfully prosecuted because a portion of their receipts go not only to widows and orphans, but they go to Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaeda. And that is a matter of concern.
My question relates to freedom of speech, and the freedom amendments. Many countries in continental Europe, as well as in Canada today — the hate speech statutes, Islamophobia statutes, are such that you are indicted and prosecuted, and many times convicted. The ACT! for America chapter leader in Austria, Elisabeth Woolf, was convicted not very long ago for making the statement that since the Prophet had sexual relations with a nine-year-old girl, today that would be considered pedophilia. She was indicted by state in a criminal case and convicted. I believe the case has been appealed.
Is there complete protection of freedom of speech in the UK today for a statement such as that? Or would one even risk making statements like that?
Baroness Caroline Cox: Thank you very much. I hope you could hear. Could you hear that?
In essence, what you said in the first part related to Sharia finance and the dangers of Sharia finance. And one of the provisions of Sharia finance is that a certain percentage has to go to Zakat, or taxes. But the use of those taxes very often is not very transparent. And there’s a lot of concern that some of that so-called taxes don’t necessarily go to charitable purposes, but actually go out to fund jihad movements abroad, or maybe some of the more radical movements within our own country. And that is one of the problems of Sharia finance and Sharia banking — that it’s not transparent, and it’s very hard to find out where a lot of that money does go and how it’s used. So thank you for that. And it’s an important contribution.
You then asked a question on freedom of speech, and whether or not the incitement to hatred legislation does protect [our] society from incitement to hatred. One thing that’s [caused] a lot of concern in the United Kingdom has been what seems to be a very schizophrenic, or almost a kind of incompatible, approach to the response of the authorities to incitement to hatred legislation and speech.
We’ve had some very interesting demonstrations, quite frightening demonstrations, in London, with banners which [may] be incitement to hatred — inciting killing, inciting death, death to Americans, and death to all sorts of people who have incurred the wrath of the militants. And they’ve been very virulent and really quite — certainly aggressively, verbally — violent demonstrations. And there’s not been an awful lot of report of police intervention and police [convictions] from that side of things.
On the other side, you may or may not know, when we tried to invite Geert Wilders over to the UK — Lord Pearson, [Veronica], myself — he was not allowed to come the first time round. Because Lord Ahmed — it was reported that Lord Ahmed, one of our Islamic peers in the House of Lords, had said he would threaten that there would be 10,000 Muslims demonstrating. And our Home Office, our Home Secretary, decided this might be a threat to public order. So when Geert Wilders arrived in the United Kingdom, he was sent straight back again.
Well, Lord Pearson, my good colleague, worked very hard to get a judicial review. And Geert Wilders did come back, and we were able to host him back.
And what was very interesting was when he came back, actually, the media coverage was more sympathetic than I thought it would be. And in a way, the fact that I think the British public was so furious that this fundamental principle of freedom of speech, the denial of access to a democratically elected European member of European Parliament — that intimidation had been applied to the British government — that he was not to be allowed into the United Kingdom — that got to middle England. And there was a lot of anger that the Home Secretary refused access to Geert Wilders the first time round. [When] he did come back — so the press coverage was not as negative as we had all thought that it would be.
So message [was] we’ve got to keep on and on, and hope that the good British people who do care passionately about freedom of speech will actually have their influence over the British government.
But that having been said — going back to the legislation — which I mentioned, where we managed to put on those amendments to protect the fundamental freedoms of speech, and [also] the House of Commons’ attempt to do away with them — was held on by one vote. Otherwise, could’ve been in prison by now. Probably be in good company, people I’d be in prison with. But that legislation would’ve made seven years in prison for people critical of Islam.
The police were already beginning to behave as though that was on the statute book before it was passed. Just give one example on the asymmetry of tolerance, of those people who might be deemed to be inciting hatred.
Some years back now — so I quoted this in debates in the House of Lords — there were two Christian pastors in one of our Northern British towns. And the police went to their church and threatened and intimidated them very seriously. Because they had been — as lots of churches would do around Christmastime — just putting little leaflets through people’s doors, you know, wishing people a happy Christmas and saying — you’re welcome to come to any of our church services, and so on. And someone had complained that this was giving offense. And the police had taken so seriously this business, they actually went to those pastors’ church offices. They took away their computer, and they more or less threatened them that this was giving offense, and they’d better be careful.
Now, if that law had been in the statute book, they would’ve been in deep trouble. So [it’s how] important it was to hold that line.
And just a second example — Ipswich, which is quite a rural town in the Southeast of England, and hardly a multicultural community — it’s very much an English rural area — there were two pastors who, rather like John Wesley, every Wednesday afternoon would go and preach the gospel at what was called Corn Hill, in the middle of Ipswich. Before that legislation went to Parliament, police actually went one day and told them that they’d better be careful. They might give offense. And if they continued to, if they gave offense, they could be in trouble.
So there’s a slight asymmetry in the tolerance of freedom of speech. And again, we have to stand up, and we have to make sure that we are free to speak the things that we believe we have the right to speak.
And moving around this way, and I’ll come back — yes?
Unidentified Audience Member: Are there laws on the books to prevent, for example, alternative legal systems that are just not being enforced [for] the threat of intimidation? And also, do you have the support of your colleagues in the House of Lords (inaudible)?
Baroness Caroline Cox: I’m happy to say, so far, I’ve got a very broad base of support at briefings. We haven’t had debates on the floor of the House yet. But these are briefings. And have had more people to the briefings, [I think,] any other briefings; and good, strong, cross-party support from the Conservative Party — a lot of very leading conservatives are very much on side. Geoffrey Howe is on side; a lot of the leading conservatives. P.D. James, the famous author — you may know P.D. James — she’s very much on side. One of our leading judges, Lord Carlile of Berriew, is very much on side.
And on the other side, on the Labour Party, Lord [Bertengle] was a minister in the Labour Administration — very much on side. Betty Boothroyd, former Speaker of the House of Commons, on side.
So a good spectrum of support in the House of Lords. Waiting to see the House of Commons. But it is important to build this alliance cross-party.
And also — and when we were on the incitement to religious hatred, we had a similar alliance. And some of you may know Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson. We got him to come and brief peers on freedom of speech, importance of freedom of speech. And I can tell you, he was not the least bit funny. He was deadly serious.
So I think there is a lot of popular support at every level in society. And certainly, people out in so-called middle England are very, very worried what’s happening and are very supportive of this initiative. Because they see that the things they’re worried about — that they can’t intuit or articulate, but they see happening around them and are causing them deep concern — beginning to be addressed in the parliamentary arena. And I hope that that might stop what otherwise might turn into a polarization of people who — because no one’s talking about it in Parliament or in the center — will join the more extreme parties, like the British National Party or the English League for Democracy. Because no one in the center’s talking about it.
So I think one of the important functions of this bit of proposed legislation — whether it goes in the statute book or not, it will at least get the subject discussed. We must have serious discussion. And I don’t know which way our government will go. I suspect that David Cameron will be under as much pressure from the Muslim Council of Britain as Tony Blair was. But at least we get the thing open, discussed.
And Willy Wilberforce had to take his act 20 times before the British Parliament. If we don’t succeed this time, we’ll go back and again and again. I’m already 74, but maybe I’ll live to 94. But I hope I don’t need to for the sake of the British people. We need this legislation before then.
On to your question.