Last night I read an article on vice.com, tweeted by @TellMamaUK about a rising young fascist. I responded to them voicing my disapproval of him, and mentioned that while I have concerns about Sharia Law I was a million miles away from the likes of him, just in case they gave a flying fig.
(I do have concerns about Sharia - the same concerns any Guardian reader would. I have retweeted the occasional Pat Condell video. Fair disclosure).
This started an interesting thread in which I was challenged by one Sam Malone, not the Boston Barkeep of yore, but a self described ‘hater of right wing rhetoric and ideology’, who took it upon himself to talk to me as if I was wildly promulgating an anti-islamic philosophy.
I was at pains to disavow him of this impression. At the same time I thought it was important to assert my right to express concerns about a system of law which to me seems at best archaic and unyielding, and at it’s worst at odds with UK civil law.
I quickly referenced onelawforall.org.uk, a very reasonable organisation who campaign against the introduction of Sharia into the UK, and who specifically distance themselves from the likes of the EDL, the BNP and other far right wankers. These latter groups often try to use the reasonable concerns of leftie liberals like myself about Sharia to subvert our general multicultural leanings and make political capital.
Indeed, Mr Malone hashtagged his second tweet to me #EDL which got my back up immediately.
For a large part of the conversation, which took place over an evening, I thought Malone was a liberal like myself under the mistaken impression that I was some kind of right wing nutjob.
I now believe the truth to be far more sinister, but then again I have been awake for twenty four hours.
I have reconstructed the sequence as best I can, and will provide commentary where appropriate. The unedited tweets remain on my feed at @numbdave and presumably @SamMaloneUK.
Key: Who is tweeting. what they are tweeting, my commentary
Here’s my first tweet responding to the article linked to by @TellMamaUK, an organisation dedicated to exposing and preventing attacks and harassment against Muslims.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave: @TellMamaUK I’ve got my concerns about Sharia law, who hasn’t, but I’m a million miles away from this racist: http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/jack-buckby-is-proud-to-be-britains-next-nick-griffin …
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK: @numbdave @TellMamaUK Islam is just an easy target at the moment. Another time and this fool would be talking abt Catholics, blacks, Irish..
At this point I assumed he meant the fool in the vice.com article, now I’m not sure.
@NotReallyInvolved (this is not the real name of this person.): @SamMaloneUK @numbdave @TellMamaUK Experienced more terrorism from the IRA than Islam, but support Home Rule.”Sharia law” highly subjective.
I took up this assertion with @NotReallyInvolved in another thread and those tweets are available on twitter but not relevant to this post.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave :@NotReallyInvolved @SamMaloneUK @TellMamaUK My concern isn’t about Islamic terrorism per se - it’s about the erosion of hard won human rights.
This seems clear, right? It is clear where my concern is, isn’t it?
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave Truth is the ‘creeping Shariah’ thing is plain fearmongering. Anyone who understand how UK laws are passed knows it. #edl
First mention of ‘Creeping Shariah’ and the EDL hashtag. I was not happy.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK woah, don’t lump me in with those pricks. I’d love you to reassure me it’s not true. http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/
I am horrified that anyone could think I have any sympathies with the EDL, and am now very keen to convince this guy that I don’t.
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : I haven’t. But can I ask if you would have same concerns re. Beth Din?
Not ‘oh no, I didn’t mean that’ just ‘I haven’t’ and straight on with the script. Why hashtag it EDL then?
Beth Din is the Jewish legal system btw. What has that got to do with this discussion? But OK, I can go there.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK I’d be concerned if any religious laws took precedence over civil law. I would advocate a separation of ‘church’ and state.
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK :@numbdave Again I agree. My argument is the fear of Shariah law being imposed, even on UK Muslims, is exaggerated.
This isn’t an argument, it’s an assertion. And I haven’t actually mentioned what my actual concerns are at this point - apart from general human rights issues.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave :@SamMaloneUK I would call myself a secularist in this matter - freedom of and freedom from religion protects us all, religious or not.
By this time I feel something is up. Admiral Akbar is shouting in my ear. But I don’t listen.
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK :@numbdave I agree with you. But if we think of Shariah ‘courts’ purely in terms of law they are little more than a mediation service.
This answer looks odd now - what, you agree with me that I would call myself a secularist or that freedom from and of religion protects us all? Still, I persevere.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK Mediation based on religious grounds?
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave Yes. And, under the law it is voluntary.
Do his replies seem stilted to you, like he’s following a flowchart?
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK If someone can’t talk to her doctor because she knows he will go straight to her family, what does the word ‘voluntary’ mean?
Though perhaps badly phrased, this is a reasonable question, seeing as he seems to have taken on the mantle of ‘All knowing Defender of Sharia’.
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave You’re changing the discussion. We’re talking about the fear of Shariah law being imposed on UK being unfounded.
Are we? I was talking to @TellMamaUK about some racist they’d tweeted about and you butted your big nose in, and now you are telling me I’m changing the discussion? He uses the same phrase several times.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK Yes. Under English law mediation by Sharia council is voluntary. I’m suggesting that community pressure affects that.
I feel this is a major flaw in any voluntary system - if you are liable to be pressured into volunteering it’s voluntary in name only.
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave Implementation/flaws therein is another discussion. But you have to agree the imposition of Shariah under UK law is far flung idea
Implementation/flaws is another discussion bzzzt click whirr. No it isn’t, Calcubot, how things actually work is integral to the discussion you have insisted we have. If people submit to a system because of unbearable family or cultural pressure it has been imposed on them and calling it voluntary does not change this. That is fundamental to an understanding of human rights.
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave Bottom line is purely in terms of law, Shariah courts are voluntary mediation services.
You’re the bottom line.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK It’s not voluntary if your entire community will shun you for not taking part. Do you disagree?
Here’s where the ‘Sam is a robot’ theory moves from amusing to sinister, like the rabbits in Father Dougal’s head moving into the real world. Shut up, I haven’t slept in twenty four hours.
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK :@numbdave Implementation/flaws therein is another discussion. Argument here is that the imposition of Shariah under UK law is far flung idea
Bzzzt. Revert. Bzzzt. I mean, ‘Implementation/Flaws therein’? are you kidding?
Bear in mind these tweets are spread out over a whole evening. At the time I just took each one at face value.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK Do I think I will ever be subject to Sharia Law? No. This does not diminish my concern for those who will be.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK your bottom line was that it was voluntary. Your words. My point is that in this case ‘voluntary’ is a meaningless term.
I’ve said this several times in different ways. Acknowledge it!
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave My bottom line is that under UK law it is voluntary. Implementation and abuse is another discussion.
Beep! Voluntary always means voluntary. Implementation and abuse bzzzt! Return Return Return to your seats! (hitch hikers reference).
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK If I had tweeted ‘I am concerned about women’s rights’ would we be having this discussion? Muslim women have the same rights.
'as any women', I would have said given a little more space. Admiral Akbar is screaming at me but I pay no mind.
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave My point from the first has been that the idea of ‘Creeping Shariah’ imposed in UK is unfounded. You’re having a different debate
Who the fuck are you? I don’t know what debate you are having, I’m being polite by even responding to your cybernetic trolling ass. You have no idea what my concerns about Sharia Law are, for all you knew at the start I was concerned it wasn’t being introduced fast enough! But you’ve just banged on obsessively about it not being ‘creeping’ and have paid no real attention to anything I’ve said. But if that’s what you want, suck on this, Tin Man.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK If there are people in this country ‘voluntarily’ submitting to Sharia Law, that counts as ‘creeping’ in my book.
And the mask slips:
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave Guess what - every single Muslim in this country is voluntarily submitting to Shariah law. That’s millions. Would you deny them?
Every Single Muslim. Voluntarily. Millions, that’s a lot. That must definitely be true Sam, I assume you’ve met them all and asked them. Never mind what I have told you about my opinion of your use of the word ‘voluntarily’.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK You haven’t absorbed a single thing that I have said about the use of the word ‘voluntary’ in this context have you?
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK You may not agree with what I have said about it, but you cant pretend not to have understood it.
Sambot went a bit quiet for a while, so I thought I’d big up his startling foot in mouth tweet just in case any one following needed it highlighting.
RETWEETED Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave Guess what - every single Muslim in this country is voluntarily submitting to Shariah law. That’s millions. Would you deny them?
Turns out silicon Sam hadn’t cottoned on.It’s like one of those canned phrases they give vaccuum cleaner salepeople as ‘solid closers’.
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave Can I ask why you retweeted that tweet of mine?
It’s a public forum. You sought me out with your pre-scripted agenda. Most people love to be retweeted. Why shouldn’t I retweet it?
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK I was wondering why you were so keen to accept Sharia Law on other people’s behalf. I wanted people to read the thread.
Not true. I was baiting him so I could get some closure.
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave I would say that you are being disingenuous in implying that I was. Lastly, I think anyone reading our thread will see through you
I think he means disingenuous in implying that he was accepting Sharia on other’s behalf. What does he mean by ‘see through you’? That I am after all a terrible terrible Muslim hating racist? Ooh Lordie! What do you think dear reader?
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave I don’t think you’ll find any implication of me accepting anything. My position has been clear from my first tweet.
Your position was very clear, right up to the point you said this and completely reversed it :
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK ‘every single Muslim in this country is voluntarily submitting to Shariah law’. That is a bold statement.
He doesn’t even know it. He’s already dead in the water.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK and it is in complete contradiction to your assertion that ‘Creeping Shariah’ is a myth. Do you disagree?
It isn’t good for him at all now. You may wish to look away.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK Millions of people want to bring back hanging. I would deny them that as well.
Just rubbing it in really. I’m a monster. Sue me.
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave In fact, rereading my tweets, I have repeated my position time and again. So for you to suggest anything different is poor.
You read everything apart from the part where you completely contradicted the one point you have been repeatedly making all night?
Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave Lastly, your use of the straw man fallacy discredits you. I’m done with you. Goodbye.
Honestly, I thought this was just sad, It’s like the flow chart has a box marked ‘in emergency cry ‘fallacy” with a numbered list and a d20.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : You brought up ‘Creeping Shariah’. RT @SamMaloneUK: Lastly, your use of the straw man fallacy discredits you. I’m done with you. Goodbye.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK Your position has been that ‘Creeping Shariah’ does not exist. You then state that millions of Muslims are submitting to it.
I’m making it clear to him and his superiors (I have no evidence that there are any superiors) that he has failed.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : @SamMaloneUK You are the one who built the straw man. I then beat you with it till you exposed your own hypocrisy. The end.
It’s a bit like in Alien when Ash is just a head and they pull the plug.
Say the next two RTs like Hal singing Daisy Daisy and you’ll get the idea.
RT Sam Malone @SamMaloneUK : @numbdave Truth is the ‘creeping Shariah’ thing is plain fearmongering. Anyone who understand how UK laws are passed knows it. #edl
This is his ‘main point’.
TheCuratesEgg @numbdave : And yet RT @SamMaloneUK: every single Muslim in this country is voluntarily submitting to Shariah law. That’s millions. Would you deny them?
This is him fucking his main point up.
Reading the transcript back like this makes it obvious to me that @SamMaloneUK is some kind of apologist sockpuppet doing its best to muddy the waters of reasonable dissent by conflating critical enquiry with unthinking prejudice and bigotry.
If ‘his’ purpose was to deflect attention from the very real effects Sharia Law is having on Muslim women and LGBT people across the planet, ‘he’ has failed.
I have never been more interested in human rights, freedom, equality,and one law for all.
But hey, enough of my yakkin’, visit www.onelawforall.org.uk and www.councilofexmuslims.com to talk to the experts.
coda: around 4am today I had convinced my self that I was paranoid, and @SamMaloneUK was just some guy. Then I looked at his account. He is on 8 lists on twitter - variously titled ‘fake account’, ‘spammers’, ‘autotweeters’ and sadly ‘liars’. What is his story?