By Sheikh Daoud Rosser-Owen
Glenn Beck, the former Fox News broadcaster and Tea Party favourite, has compared those who were massacred on the Norwegian island of Utøya to the Nazi party’s youth wing.
“There was a shooting at a political camp, which sounds a little like the Hitler youth, or, whatever. I mean, who does a camp for kids that’s all about politics. Disturbing,” said Mr Beck on his radio show.
These are disgraceful and condemnable comments calling into question the position of Mr Beck, The Tea Party and similar individuals and movements and their role in radicalising individuals and groups such as Anders Breivik and the EDL in Europe as well as individuals in the United States who subcribe to similar views.
The Association of British Muslims stands in solidarity with the suffering of the Norwegian people and we condemn the comments by Glenn Beck. However it must be noted, his latest comments about the “disturbing” nature of political youth camps may come as a surprise to Beck’s followers in the Tea Party movement:
The anti-tax, anti-immigration movement has been holding summer camps in states including Florida and Missouri where children have been taught a curriculum based on God, the US constitution and “the defence of economic liberty.”
These deeply offensive remarks by Mr Beck are insensitive and wrong. However they do serve to highlight the nature of the religious extremists who call themselves ‘Christians’ who appear to have taken over the American ‘Tea Party’ movement. One of them, ‘Pastor’ Pat Robertson, on today’s (Tuesday, 26 July 2011) edition of the Christian Broadcast Network’s ’700 Club’ went so far as to use the events in Oslo and at Utøya as yet another opportunity to attack The Tea Party’s favourite bogeyman – Muslims and Islam!
Mr Beck and Pastor Robertson are, however, only two of a coterie of the increasingly powerful American “Christian” fascist movement, who peddle a distorted and inaccurate picture of Islam and Muslims, whipping up sectarian hate in the process.
Another of their number is Pastor John Hagee of Cornerstone Church, San Antonio, Texas who is a frequent guest on Mr Beck’s show.
It is of concern that ‘Pastor’ Hagee is scheduled to attend a rally here in United Kingdom, on 22 and 23 August this year. Given the nature of the rabble-rousing content of his preaching and the inflammatory effect that it has, it would be singularly inappropriate for this preacher to be allowed into the United Kingdom during the middle of the month of Ramadan and to have free access to a public platform in Birmingham, a city with a very large multi-cultural and multi-religious population.
We call on The Rt Hon Theresa May, HM The Home Secretary, in her power to issue an Exclusion Order for Mr Hagee, in the same way that she has done for other extremist hate preachers, in the public interest.
It is not for us to question the Christian theology of the beliefs of such as Robertson, Hagee, and Beck, although we have our views based on our own study and knowledge of the Christian texts, but for the mainstream churches to do so. There are two Established Churches in the United Kingdom – the Church of England and the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland. It is really up to them to call these people back to Christ.