If Mike Gapes left Labour because of religious discrimination, why the apparent support for Islamophobia?

Mike Gapes: He seems a very confused – but excitable – individual.

Former Labour Parliamentarian turned Change UK MP Mike Gapes should have kept his fingers away from the keyboard when a fellow member of the new party – and European Parliament candidate – was accused of Islamophobia.

Nora Mulready was accused of conflating Islam with terrorism, suggesting it was a “fallacy that Islamism is nothing to do with Islam” and that radical Islamism could be “Koranically justified”.

Both the Muslim Council of Britain and anti-racism reporting service Tell Mama condemned the candidate.

But Mr Gapes made it clear that he supported Ms Mulready, first by retweeting a supportive message by The Independent Group (the former name of Change UK) London:

This attracted the attention of Muslim Twitter user – and friend of This Site – Aleesha. Her criticism provoked Mr Gapes to enter the fray directly:

Note that he seemed to be saying the exact opposite of Ms Mulready, who had apparently claimed that Islamism (the political ideology) and Islam (the religion) were the same.

She was having none of it. By now, her supporters were starting to react too:

Here’s his response:

And then he blocked her:

It was too late by now, though – Mr Gapes was already attracting adverse comments on his own Twitter feed. He blocked these people too:

He summed up the clash as follows:

And here’s Aleesha’s take on it:

What should we make of it?

Mr Gapes left Labour in February, claiming that the party was now considered racist and anti-Semitic. But here he is seen happily defending someone accused of Islamophobia, apparently by inverting one of her comments to mean the opposite of what he said. And when a Muslim took issue with him, he told her to “trot off”.

At best this is hypocritical; at worst racist. It wouldn’t be the first racism to come out of Change UK either – would it, Angela Smith?

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  1. MikeCoppock April 25, 2019 at 1:35 am - Reply

    You have to give him some credit, to be fair:

    “There is nothing Islamophobic about @NoraMulready. Islam the religion and Islamism the political ideology are not the same thing. You can respect Islam the religion but oppose political Islamism, and those who support extreme Jihadist Islam. That is not islamophobic.”

    If you replace ‘Islamophobic’ with ‘Anti-semitic’, and replace ‘Islam’ with Judaism’, ‘Islamism’ with ‘Zionism’, and ‘extreme Jihadist Islam’ with ‘extreme Zionism’, it actually makes perfect sense in both cases.

    Without actually spelling it out, he’s opposing the the accusations of anti-semitism directed at Richard Burgon… unless he’s being hypocritical.

  2. msw April 25, 2019 at 8:33 am - Reply

    islam is violent, and encourages violence, but not all muslims do violence. Mind you, it doesn’t take that many to control huge areas in each country they reside.

    • Mike Sivier April 25, 2019 at 9:06 am - Reply

      IS Islam violent, then – or is it just a certain kind of Muslim who is, in the same way a certain kind of Christian is violent (look at all the things Americans have done in the name of God)?

      • Sam Bentley April 27, 2019 at 1:47 pm - Reply

        It goes further back than that. Just look at the Crusades and how the Christians fought for possession of Jerusalem. Christians are violent against other Christians. For example Henry VIII, Mary I and the Spanish Inquisition. The Troubles in Northern Ireland is not just political it is also religious. Why does Christianity keep getting portrayed as the innocent good guy. Look at what is happening in Palestine right now, The Jewish are claiming self defence against a people with no army, airforce or navy. But the Jewish people are portrayed as the innocent good guys even after Netanyahu teams up with ultra right wing terrorists. Ok I will get off my soapbox now

  3. The Toffee (597) April 25, 2019 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Allow me to go all chris bryant (Another beaut who needs to leave Labour or be punted) and say that saying ‘trot’ in a series of tweets about islamophobia, is islamaphobic in the same way ‘gammon’ is antisemitic.

    Because don’t pigs have TROTters…or something…??

    Come the next election, fat ribena berry head gapes and every one of them tingers (or hwatever they’re called this week) will be out on their ‘arrises, hopefully bryant, too.

    Can’t come soon enough. .

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