The anti-Muslim stories continue: ‘Fury after two Muslim councillors refuse to take part in standing ovation for Marine who won George Cross’. Can I just make it absolutely clear that the decision of these two councillors was taken out of principle – in their words:

Cllr Yaqoob, Respect Party leader and head of Birmingham’s Stop the War Coalition, said: ‘It was more about the politicians feeling good about themselves for sending our young men to fight for reasons that have proved to be false.

‘I have every sympathy for our soldiers on a human level, they are only doing their jobs.

‘But this ovation was just a big public show, it was false patriotism.

‘Wrapping coffins in the flag and awarding medals does not make it right.’

Cllr Ishtiaq added: ‘At the end of the day, if these so-called politicians want to give a standing ovation, why don’t they go and fight themselves?

‘What we did was out of principle.’ [emphasis is mine]

Their decision to not take part in the standing ovation had nothing whatsoever to do with their religion, yet the article repeatedly labels them ‘Muslim councillors’ as if they had taken the action as a result of being Muslim. It is another disgraceful slur on a minority group. British values – real British values, not the intolerant, ignorant hatred of British nationalists – are based on the freedom to make individual choices, to be free to make peaceful political gestures. Ironically the soldiers are supposed to be dying to defend such freedoms, yet here are two councillors being accused of treason for simply taking the decision to not stand during an ovation which they perceived as being a not very tasteful political act. As the soldier himself acknowledges:

everyone is entitled to their opinion whatever it may be

In the same way, everyone should be free to be judged by their actions, not by their religious label. By all means discuss whether the councillors were right or wrong to not stand because that is a perfectly legitimate debate. However, religion has nothing to do with it and this is just another story designed purely to appeal to the BNP / EDL. And just in time for Luton, to.

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