Last Thursday, as at the time I commented upon here in a posting, the Times newspaper applied generous coats of whitewash to London's Mayor Ken Livingstone in an effort to give the left-leaning trouble-maker a brand makeover that would transform him into a paragon of responsibility and moderation. Today, it is the turn of that city's Muslim population to receive the same treatment from this same newspaper.
In a news report in today's issue entitled ‘Poll of Muslims in London shows hidden face of a model citizenry', Michael Binyon reports that a Gallup opinion poll of Londoners to be published tomorrow has discovered the Muslim ones to be more patriotic and moderate in their opinions than their non-Muslim counterparts.
Elsewhere, the newspaper gives over to Mr Binyon further column inches to drive home his message. In a Thunderer column entitled ‘Muslim, British and just like the rest of us', Mr Binyon exuberantly declares that ‘here at last are the figures to… prove… most Muslims are honest, moderate, loyal citizens'.
Why do I remain unpersuaded by what Mr Binyon claims here?
Before stating my central reasons for so being, let me say straight off that not only can I neither offer nor point to any evidence to show that what Mr Binyon says about London's Muslims is false, I most sincerely hope and pray that what he states the poll to have shown about them is indeed true of them. However, where he and I part company is over how much credence each of us thinks can rightly be attached to the reported results of the poll.
‘Why, on earth, not accept what is claimed the poll has found out about Muslims?', I can hear the reader asking in my head as I write these words.
Well, very simply put, I think there is very good reason to doubt the impartiality of those responsible for devising and for interpreting the poll, and hence to mistrust any claims about what it supposedly has revealed about the opinions of Muslims.
The reason to mistrust the impartiality of some of those connected with the poll is that, as stated on its own website, in developing and analysing data from the World Poll, the Gallup Organisation has relied ‘on a panel of world–renowned scientists … [who] include John Esposito'. Now, John Esposito, as I explained in a related posting about the Gallup poll in February, is the founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin-Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington DC which changed its name to its present one, after his university where it is based received a gift of $20 million from the man to whose name his centre changed its own.
As I reported in my posting about the Times' encomium of Ken Livingstone last week, this Saudi benefactor is known to be someone who is prepared to use his fabulous wealth and great influence to shape world-opinion in a way favourable to Muslims in general and to the Saudi Wahhabi regime in particular. He also happens to be the single largest share-holder in the holding company that owns, among many other news-media, … the Times.
In the final paragraph of his report about the results of the Gallup poll, Michael Binyon demurely states: ‘The poll is financed by the Gallup Organisation, and so it claims that it has no partisan interest in any of its findings'. The same, however, can hardly be said about one of those most who have been closely involved in devising it and in interpreting its results.
It is Mr Binyon's failure even to declare Professor Esposito's involvement in the poll, and the interest Professor Posito must undoubtedly have in the poll having a certain outcome, that makes me regard Mr Binyon's piece of journalism in today's Times as tacky in the extreme, if you know what I mean.
Those wanting an eye-opener about how Saudi money is being used to promote Wahhabism worldwide should click onto this link to a 2002 article by Steven Stalinksy, executive director of MEMRI.