Islamophobia… or cold, hard truth?
That was Britain’s 9/11, the first attack on their own country by British-born suicide bombers in the name of Allah.
Tonight, Channel 4’s excellent Dispatches â€” by some distance television’s best documentary makers â€” marks the day with a special programme.
It was Dispatches who gave us the remarkable insight into rabble-rousing imams in Undercover Mosque.
Using hidden cameras, they recorded clerics preaching hatred for non-Muslims and hailing the Taliban, which is killing British soldiers.
The chilling footage should have been used to prosecute the imams under anti-terror laws. Shamefully, it was pounced on by demented West Midlands police as evidence of C4 “distortion”.
Tonight’s programme is different. It is presented by my friend Peter Oborne, who earned his TV spurs with a fine Dispatches programme from inside Zimbabwe.
This time, he is making the argument that the British media is anti-Muslim.
He cites invented incidents which portray Muslims in a bad light and incite attacks fuelled by religious or race hatred.
I was interviewed for the programme after condemning Islamist extremists for hijacking the Koran and using it to recruit gullible young Muslims.
“Where’s the evidence?” Peter barked.
I cited the Dispatches programme Undercover Mosque.
Hmmm. Well, what about my criticism of Muslim immigrants for their self-imposed isolation and reluctance to integrate? Wasn’t the same true for some Orthodox Jewish communities?
Maybe, I replied. But Jews â€” who are themselves increasingly the target for hate attacks â€” are not trying to bomb Britain.
In the past, I have also questioned the “provocative” trend by British-born Muslims to start wearing tribal costume and the hijab.
And I touched on the appalling fact that many women are treated as chattels.
All this, Peter Oborne concluded, amounted to “Islamophobia”.
Is he right? Does severe criticism of a creed or its teachings justify the accusation of hate?
Or is that just a way of shutting down the debate, just as critics of the EU are branded Europhobes?
Isn’t this precisely the trumped-up charge West Midlands police tried to plant on Channel 4?
And, if so, what about those Muslims who make identical comments?
In the wake of 9/11, the Muslim head of Al Arabiya TV, Abdul Rahman al Rashed, said: “Not all Muslims are terrorists but, with deep regret, we must admit that almost all terrorists are Muslims.”
Is he an Islamophobe?
Try watching Syrian-born Dr Wafa Sultan on YouTube as she challenges a furious cleric to name a single Jew or Buddhist suicide bomber.
“Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by killing people, burning churches and bombing embassies,” she storms.
Is she Islamophobic? Or simply spelling out the facts?
Dr Sultan also condemned the way Muslim hardliners “treat women like beasts”.
Muslim men are entitled to beat their wives and take more than one wife. Women are automatically suspect, banned in some communities from showing their faces or limbs because they are sexually tempting â€” to men. Visit an Arab country, or watch TV shows about them, and you will see plenty of men and boys.
Women appear rarely and, when they do, are covered head to toe. The rest are under virtual house arrest, living behind closed doors in ignorance and isolation.
We cannot interfere in the way other countries order their societies.
But such barbaric treatment of women has been imported and thrives here.
Forced marriages are common. Honour killings and beatings are far from rare. Women are refused education or a chance to learn English.
Police, backed by a government which spends millions on “diversity”, turn a blind eye rather than upset community leaders â€” all male.
Who do they think they are helping?
The accusation that the media â€” with a few badly researched or unchecked stories â€” is fomenting race hatred is in itself a trivialisation.
I receive emails from women Muslims crying out for help. One, Gina Khan, has written eloquently in The Sun about oppression of women in a male-dominated society through arranged marriages, polygamy and the veil. Is she Islamophobic too?
Or is she a lonely voice on behalf of millions of women who are being ignored and gagged by a politically correct establishment which is too timid to face the truth?
Do you agree with Trevor? Have your say…