An inevitable and depressing spin-off from the diversity industry.
Look, you can even meet the team! (Well the men, at least.)
As the first comment on Maryam’s blog post says:
They s[t]ate on their ‘who we are’ page:
“We are dedicated in presenting the pure teachings of Islam in response to many of the myths and misconceptions that are commonly held”.
Then go on to censor the images of their female contributors. No myths and misconceptions in that area then.
The Professional section of the What We Do? page grabbed my attention, and not just for the grammatically incorrect deployment of the question mark, which I actually quite liked: it suggests these people have simply been given some desks, told to sit down and do some work, and now they’re cluelessly asking each other what they’re meant to be doing, Manuel-style.
This organisation represents some of the worst aspects of the diversity industry. Just as the health and safety industry can sometimes make our lives unsafe, so the diversity industry can often be relied upon to make society more divisive.
Consider this from the Professional section:
“Do you work alongside Muslims or people from the Muslim community?
If you do, IDC North East offers an introductory course for you to learn more about Muslims.”
Anyone would think Muslims are wild animals and that we need training to handle them.
I imagine the IDC are keen to prevent the marginalisation of Muslims, but telling infidels they need bespoke training in order to engage with them achieves precisely that. It not only marginalises Muslims, it also de-humanises them.
If my boss ever drafted in a clergyman or other representative of the Christian faith to give my colleagues training on how to deal with me, on the basis that I was christened many years ago (although I have long since attained the age where I can renounce the need to renounce a devil), I would literally beg him to take a taxi to the hospital to get his brain checked out – as much for his own sake as for mine. If he persisted with his crackpot scheme I would lose (a) any sense of my own individuality, self-worth and dignity, and (b) all respect for him.
The IDC is clearly keen to stress diversity and it even uses the word in its name, so it must promote diversity, right? Yes, just as Islam must be peaceful because it means ‘peace’.
What about diversity amongst Muslims, though? How diverse is a reasonable person to suppose Muslims are if a few self-appointed leaders can do a world tour of the North East telling everyone what Muslims believe and what their sensitivities are?
Tangent: whenever I hear the ‘Islam means peace’ bollocks, I argue that calling a rabid Staffordshire bull terrier Flossy doesn’t make it any less intimidating. If anything, the irony with which one is mocked by the mischievous nomenclature increases the intimidation factor.
Back to diversity. Are Muslims not also human beings who are individuals, who might have different opinions to others who call themselves Muslims? No, if we follow the IDC’s logic Muslims are a homogenous mass, a force of nature that needs to be understood. And the IDC speaks for all of them. How diverse indeed.
And how about this for unintentionally showing your cards:
“This is a great opportunity for professionals to learn, explore, challenge and ask any question about Islam in a safe, non-judgmental place.”
Note the implied acknowledgement that, when it comes to Islam, it is often unsafe to merely learn, explore and challenge. And you will be judged.
A brief letter to the IDC:
Is it racist to say I love the outfits and the beards?
If so, I will say I don’t like them.
And if that’s also racist, it’s clearly not possible for me to have an opinion on Islamic facial hair or clothing without being a racist, so we had better change the subject.
Thanks anyway, lovely people, but I have been to school with Muslims and I also work with them, and I don’t have any bites or even scratch marks, so I won’t be taking you up on your kind offer of ‘training’ (which has an almost Orwellian ring to it, too, don’t you think?) on how to interact with them. That’s because I already know that all people – Muslim or infidel – are individuals who have the right to be treated as such.
As you will have noticed, I don’t like generalisations (generally), but I have found that Muslims, like other human beings, respond rather well to being treated as individuals with the right to have their own individual opinions and individual beliefs and who have their own individual human rights as opposed to group rights. Sometimes they disagree with each other. Sometimes they even disagree with their so-called leaders. Sometimes they really disagree with their so-called leaders!
If you want any more ‘training’, let me know. Throw in a few Allahu Akbars and I might even do it for free. Throw in seventy two virgins and I’ll definitely do it for free! (Without wanting to sound fussy, I like big tits.)
P.S. how can we be sure that the seventy two virgins will be consenting? Is Islam bothered about that? I discuss that here.
Post Script, 27 December 2011: shortly after my blog post, the (identical) pictures of burka-clad women on the team photo were replaced with ‘NO PHOTO UPLOADED’ messages, but when you click through some of the individual women still have the burka images. And you can still see the original image on Maryam’s blog post.