So the story is that Labour councillor John Thomas (pictured), 70, the Lord Mayor of Leicester, arrived at an annual fundraising event supported by around 20 university Islamic societies in the UK last Sunday with consort Margaret Corley, 72 and was advised that he was expected to sit upstairs with the men and his consort had to sit downstairs with all the women.
His reaction? … he walked out.
A source at the event said the Mayor had ‘insulted’ other guests by walking out, adding: ‘Students from universities, colleges and schools raised over £732,000 in just one week.
‘They contributed their time and efforts to raise money. The Lord Mayor should have respected this work.’
Wrong … you don’t get to invite the mayor, then surprise him with gender segregation arrangements, and not expect something like this to happen. Religious people can happily do whatever they wish, it was a private event, but if others refuse to bow to religious demands and instead opt to walk out, then you don’t get to claim “disrespect”.
Gender equality is a basic human right, and so when religions attempt to dictate against that, then it is indeed time to simply shake your head, leave them to it, and walk away, he did the right thing. And so now the story is in the national press and they will be remembered, not for raising cash for a good cause, but rather for their weird attempt to impose 7th century values within a 21st century context.
But it was a Charity event
Since we are on the topic, I have a huge problem with the concept of “Islamic” charities, they are not really charities as we normally tend to think of them.
- Some, not all, Islamic charities are fronts that directly finance Islamic terrorism – here is a list.
- Responses to freedom of information requests show that more than 20 of the 76 live investigations that are currently being processed by the Charity Commission focus on Muslim charities associated with running mosques, providing humanitarian relief and, in a number of high-profile cases, aid efforts in Syria. The commission has labelled 55 charities with the issue code ‘extremism and radicalisation’ in the period 5 December 2012 to 8 May 2014. These “charities” were/are being monitored as a potential concern for matters relating to extremism and radicalisation.
- Even the behaviour of the good ones, can at the best of times be quite frankly appalling.
So what is going on here?
It is one of the 5 pillars of Islam … Zakat … and is mandatory for all Muslims. In theory is sounds like a great idea, the redistribution of wealth to people who need it.
Oh but wait, there is a problem. Islamic scholarship, historically, has taught that only Muslims can be recipients of zakat, so generally only those who are Muslim are permitted to benefit. Net effect, if you happen to be poor and in need, but not a Muslim, then tough.
That is not charity, but rather is blatant religious discrimination and so I would argue that labelling that “charity” is an abuse of the word, so whenever I see the word “charity” prefixed with the word, “Islamic”, I immediately remember all this.