Blogs Coffee House

Galloway and religion

31 March 2012

A few years ago, The Spectator, in an inspired notion for the Easter
issue, asked a number of prominent individuals whether they believed in the Resurrection. And
among the surprises was George Galloway, who replied emphatically in the affirmative:

‘Yes, I believe in the Resurrection. I believe God restored the life of Jesus of Nazareth and took him to his bosom. The example of suffering and sacrifice followed by vindication is
central to my religious belief.’

One hopes there wasn’t an element of hubris here, whereby George identified himself with Christ — suffering followed by vindication — but the fact remains that it was a
very public profession of faith from a politician who was, then as now, best known for his identification with Muslim causes.

Is there a way of squaring the George Galloway of the Easter Spectator issue with the campaign he waged in Bradford West, where he made an unambiguous appeal to the Islamic community as Muslims? An
interesting piece by Andrew Gilligan in today’s Telegraph
says squarely that his campaign was reminiscent of politics of the US Bible Belt and that his victory was ‘thoroughly contaminated with the politics of religion’.  Mr Galloway was
certainly quite unamibuous about doing God. On his election, he declared: ‘All praise to Allah!’ During the campaign itself, last Sunday, he said, ‘God knows who is a Muslim and
who is not. And a man that’s never out of the pub shouldn’t be going around telling people you should vote for him because he’s a Muslim… A Muslim is somebody who’s not
afraid of earthly power but who fears only the Judgment Day. I’m ready for that, I’m working for that and it’s the only thing I fear.’

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One reading of these remarks is that they are purely opportunistic. Another is that Mr Galloway is to all intents and purposes no longer Christian. Me, I think he’s been rather clever. His
remark that God knows who is a Muslim — defined as one who submits himself to God — is analogous to those unbelievers who would once remark of themselves that they were more truly
Christian than the professing sort who let their faith down in practice. He is putting as broad a definition on the word Muslim as it will bear, and is clever enough to refer the interpretation of
the matter to God, who is not to be pinned down. Indeed his remarks about his Muslim Labour opponent as a man who is never out of the pub are squarely derived from the notion that by their fruits
you shall know them — Muslim is as Muslim does, as it were.

His making much of his teetotalism would not recommend him particularly to the Catholic community from which he came — though there is a forgotten Irish-Catholic tradition of total abstinence
from alcohol on the part of ‘pioneers,’ of whom Mr Galloway may be one — but the fact that he has never drunk is undeniably an asset which he makes the most of, and there’s
no reason why he shouldn’t. As for his remarks about the Day of Judgment, he is perhaps the only Christian politician who is not afraid to talk openly and quite explicitly about his faith;
all Christians believe in the Day of Judgment but not many admit to it in public, except in the safe formulae of the Creed, said in the confines of a church.

Yasmin Alibhai Brown, the Muslim commentator popular with the BBC as a moderate, predictably declared on Any Questions that it was quite wrong to view the Bradford by-election as a Muslim
victory, on the basis that an actual Muslim candidate was defeated. That’s an unsustainable view; Muslim voters did not put their faith to one side in this election, they rejected someone
perceived as an inadequate Muslim for a man who sounded Muslim and certainly made much of being a man of faith. Indeed, this victory has been for that elusive creature, much beloved of the BBC, the
‘person of faith’ (as opposed to an actual Muslim or Catholic). That’s the card Mr Galloway played, and if Muslims read it as tantamount to him being Muslim himself, well,
that’s fine by him. (The word Allah, for instance, is simply Arabic for ‘God’). What he comes across as to me is not a Christian denying his faith but as rather a good casuist.

But it wasn’t, of course, just Muslims who voted for Mr Galloway but quite a few white voters. What did he have for them, apart from giving them a chance to wipe the eye of the big, tainted
parties? Well, he’s rare in contemporary British politics in being a genuinely impressive speaker, and rather humorous with it. He also has a reputation as an excellent constituency MP. You
know, it’s not impossible that these old-fashioned attributes played a part in his victory, and that he may turn out, qua MP, to be good for the people of Bradford.

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Show comments
  • robert grimes

    george galloway follows the teachings of jesus

  • Rick

    “There is no conflict here. Jesus was the most important prophet before Mohammad had the revelations that took himself and all his followers to the Truth. George has found the Truth.”

    Lol! Grow up.

  • Mrs.Josephine Hyde-Hartley

    What does one have to do to get manually approved?

  • Baron

    Tom Tom, thanks, my blogging friend, still nothing on the postal vote, it’s likely to emerge sooner or later.

  • TomTom

    OK Baron, the turnout was 50% in line with the GE in 2001 and 2005. Turnout was 63% in 2010 and 1997 when people wanted a change at the GE.

    Political Betting says without a Muslim Labour candidate they would have lost ANOTHER 5000 votes.

    If you knew this Constituency at all you would know that whilst Manningham, Toller, Little Horton are largely Muslim – Allerton, Thornton, Clayton are predominantly White and that City contains Bradford University.

    Galloway won in EVERY Council Ward in the Constituency in a 36.5% swing.

    Cameron achieved 3.2% Swing in May 2010 and I don’t know how many postal ballots that required.

    The Labour Party was started in Bradford in response to a mill strike in 1890 as a result of US tariffs – Lister’s Mill had 5000 employees in Manningham. That is why Galloway is moving Respect HQ to Bradford – he understands the symbolism

  • Roy

    Doesn’t this show the depths some will go to for a seat and a rich income in Westminster. While callously showing the way a demagogue can apply such seditious venom to other than his Muslim friends. The democratic process is being turned on its head allowing such monsters to saunter through the halls of power grinning the look of a fiendish, satanic, animal, not fit for this green and pleasant land.

  • Baron

    TomTom, come down, the barbarian simply wants to know, why do you conclude he believes the postal votes are all fake, ha? so, you know of a source that would furnish the data he’s asked for or not?

  • TomTom

    So Baron my postal vote is worthless is it ? Why should I waste petrol to put one cross in a box – why not let me vote on everything – School Bonds, Budget, Councillor salaries, Council Officers ?

    But telling me my vote is worthless because it’s postal us telling me my MP is somehow invalid and the Conservative Party might not want to put that to the test

  • Dimoto

    The acres of cyber-space on here, dedicated to (totally superfluous) denigration of Galloway, might make one think that he has just trampled on Conservative (or UKIP) hopes.

    Is he that important ?

  • Baron

    Can anyone point to some hard facts about this election, the turnout, the split by age group, ethnicity, socio-economic class, and most importantly, what was the share of the postal vote, how does it break into that of UK, of non-UK origin?

    Also, Sir Graphus, Axtane, In2minds, Tarka and Nicholas sum the gorgeous wonder up about right.

  • Ostrich (occasionally)

    Ron Todd 1st, 7:17am

    “A merchant more than a goat herd. Many people will hear voices, or say they do.”

    I’ve got noises in my ears. The doctor calls it tinnitus.

  • Verity

    Nicholas 9:13 writes: “Ghastly man. Should be ostracised and preferably deported to one of the totalitarian shitholes he so admires.”

    Don’t be such a dreamer! They don’t even deport alien terrorists. The notion of “deporting” a Brit is a non-starter. …. or, is it?

  • Not for Prophet

    Clear Memories. (The Clear Memories who distinguishes himself from the other Clear Memories by putting a full stop after his name) writes: “Jesus was the most important prophet before Mohammad had the revelations that took himself and all his followers to the Truth.”

    Google mohammad and epilepsy. Plenty of reading there to keep you busy.

  • robert

    The term muslim is racialy neutral islam is a religion not a race.

  • GungaDin

    Valid as your points are, Melanie, you should check your facts before you accuse ethnics of saying this or that. It was not Yasmin who was on Any Questions but Haleh Afshar. You’ve now left yourself wide open to accusations that they all look/sound the same to you…

  • Adrian Hilton

    “…only Christian politician who is not afraid to talk openly and quite explicitly about his faith”

    I’m sorry, but this simply isn’t true. What about Edward Leigh, Gary Streeter, Andrew Selous, Steve Webb, Alun Michael, Frank Field, Alistair Burt, Jeffrey Donaldson, Stephen Timms, Gavin Shuker, Tim Farron, William McCrea, Sammy Wilson… to name but a few? Not to mention, for as long as she was in Parliament, the Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe (who still deserves a peerage). Certainly, they may not all use Christianity after the sectarian fashion of George Galloway (though one or two may), but each has been known to ‘talk openly and quite explicitly’ about their faith, some to the point of defying the party whip.

  • Peter Holttum

    Maybe they the voters of whatever origin just voted for Galloway because (like the conservative writing this) they were against the Iraq, Afghanistan, Libyan and soon to be Iran or Syrian involvement, now the media circus has moved on to these last two. How long must we wait for our political parties to wake up to public opinion? How long before national interest prevails over party fear of being rubbished as unpatriotic by cynical opponents?

  • Ghengis

    Whats the fuss?, he’s only another mouth for rent, just the same as the rest of them.

  • G Wilson

    “One reading of these remarks is that they are purely opportunistic”

    Is anyone really surprised that religion functions as a political lever? That’s been its use for as long as we have history.

  • Nicholas

    Ghastly man. Should be ostracised and preferably deported to one of the totalitarian shitholes he so admires. Anyone who offers words in his support is as deranged as he is.

    I object to my licence fee funding his appearances on QT. He is on a par with Nick Griffin but it says much about our sick society that he is not treated in the same way.

  • Douglas Aitken

    As someone who has voted for Labour in the past (before the Iraq war), I can see why the good people of Bradford (not only Muslims as you erroneously report reject Labour). All the war criminals who voted for this and support the occupation of Afghanistan are still in the party.
    There are other big issues such as the persecution of the disabled like myself started by Labour, giving all our money to the banks, support for austerity and workfare, failing to support those fighting to stop reductions in their working conditions etc..
    Whilst I’ve never liked the Tories, at least they are more honest. All of the major parties are simply PR men for the banksters (where were the criminal charges when in power or the stopping of offshore tax-loopholes?).
    At least Galloway, despite his many faults, has been consistant in opposing the illegal occupation of other countries.
    Labour have shown by their actions that they simply can’t be trusted as they represent the super-rich rather than us. This constant state of denial won’t help you I’m afraid.

  • EC

    Apparently at the Speccie George Galloway is THE religion. 8 out of 11 Coffee house blogs since Friday morning have been about GG. This must be a record. I doubt if the second coming would get more coverage. (actually with GG it’s his 3rd, to date)

    Slight overkill dontcha think? Is there nothing else happening that the hacks want us to be hacked off about?

  • Craig Strachan

    ” but the fact that he has never drunk is undeniably an asset”

    If this is the way he carries on when he’s stone cold sober, imagine what he’d be like with a drink in him.

  • charles hercock

    daniel maris
    So all the inelegant are rabid boozers
    Like Enoch Powell, Willie Whitelaw,John Prescott.
    If their wives/significant others will not manicure it does not mean they are drunks.
    Let’s get back to the substance, George has screwed Miliband for good.

  • Ron Todd


    A merchant more than a goat herd. Many people will hear voices, or say they do. It will take a certain amount of savy to turn that into an established religion.

  • Fergus Pickering

    A white muslim is every bit as unpleasant as one of any other colour. However, there are very few here. And a muslim a thousand years ago was very much nicer than a muslim now. However, we are talking about now. Here and now a muslim is likely t be a brown person with savage views and no allegiance to our country. It is not the browness I object to, but the savagery and the treason.

  • tomdaylight

    “An excellent constituency MP”? Madness. He turned up to 7.6% of votes in the last Parliament. And he was so incognito to his constituents that he ran off to stand in another constituency at the general election.

    The rest of the article is pretty spot-on though. Muslim voters identify with strong Christian values, with religious belief in general – something politicians of all parties (but particularly the Tories) need to be aware of.

  • daniel maris

    Tarka –

    George’s truth is a rare flowering thing, like that plant in the rainforest that blooms once every 20 years and smells of rotting flesh. :)

  • daniel maris

    He may not drink, but he still looks like a tramp. Odd.

  • Erica Blair

    ‘One hopes there wasn’t an element of hubris here, whereby George identified himself with Christ…’

    Oops! Identifying yourself with Christ – is the whole point of Christianity!

    Melanie should reread her Catechism.

  • Tarka the Rotter

    George Galloway’s truth is another man’s poison…

  • gg

    But the Koran is emphatic, that Jesus was *not* the son of god (or even a naughty boy), and he was not resurrected.

  • Jez

    Frankenstein’s monster springs to mind.

    Welcome to our world, to all liberal elite & chattering inteligensia.

    The mainstream political parties with the ‘greed establishment’ have seemingly courted, promoted and actively sponsored the rapid transition of major parts of nearly every inner-city in England into something completely unrecognisable from what it was ten to fifteen years ago.

    Brush aside anyone who dares to speak out regards this transformation- the more outspoken verbal critisisms (quite commonly drunken ones or around massive social disorder) are now to be met with immediate imprisonment, total ruin and a hysterical lynch mob mentality from the small band of liberal enforcers.

    But alas- some large immigrant communities aren’t working for a pitance anymore and in many cases large precentages of their numbers are economically inactive. There is a growing divide as this infinate legacy of unchecked immigration digs deeper into the social fabric of the nation- Oh, and they’re now (in many places) completely self sufficient, politically organised and have a selfish (often International) sectarian agenda.

    Respect is the voice of the main tract of mainstream Islamic thinking now in the UK.

    Many in Bradford have far more in common with their ‘Brothers & Sisters’ in Gaza that they do with any non-Muslim others living in adjacent borough’s that they will rub shoulders with on a daily basis.

    But keep bashing us nasty, unclean, mentally inferior white working class. How dare we have an opinion- if we don’t like call to prayers transmitted loudly around the streets, have our children converted or sign up to being a minority, then we should shut up and get out, shouldn’t we?

    This is the new UK. Loose lips will get you banged up- your life over as you know it.

    Celebrate the diversity- and better get those 4 million new houses built quick.

  • In2minds

    George Galloway has replaced Peter Mandelson right? It’s relentless, what the strutting peacock said, did, has done etc!

  • David Lindsay

    Galloway’s sainted namesake, about whose Feast such a newfangled fuss will be made next month, is buried in that namesake’s native city, which now in Israel. That it is, is why hardly anyone keeps up the age-old Christian-Muslim unity at and around his shrine, since three quarters of the people who did so were violently expelled in 1948.

    American Protestant universities, untainted by association with British or French colonialism, nurtured generations of Arab nationalist leaders, Muslim as well as Christian. As did those with the most interest in defining the local and putatively national identity as Arab rather than Islamic, namely the ancient indigenous Christians.

    Alas, the numerical decline of Episcopalianism, Presbyterianism, Lutheranism and Methodism in American society has had an impact on, especially, the Republican Party, while the decline of those bodies in doctrinal and moral orthodoxy has cut them off from the wider Anglican, “Calvinist”, Lutheran and Methodist worlds.

    So paleocons, take note: the politically electrifying union of popular Catholicism and Orthodoxy with an academic leadership defined by conservative, but not fundamentalist, Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, Lutheranism and Methodism in their American expressions has happened before. It was specifically and successfully a bulwark against political Islam, as well as against Marxism. It was called the Arab nationalism of the Near East. And it is still there.

  • David Lindsay

    It wasn’t Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

    There could not be more Christian causes than opposition to the Iraq War, opposition to any wars against Syria or Iran, or opposition to Zionism.

    The Iraq War has devastated Christian Mesopotamia, the Christians have already been expelled from Homs, and they would be expelled from then entire country, to which many of them have fled because of what we have done to them in Iraq, if the Syrian rebels won.

    Iran has reserved parliamentary representation for two ancient Christian communities, the Armenians and the Assyrians, as well as for Zoroastrians and Jews. There would be none of that under any alternative, and the Tombs of Daniel, of Habakkuk, and of Esther and Mordechai would doubtless be destroyed, although since they are not in Israel and the pilgrims to them are just embarrassingly religious distant cousins of the Zionists, who cares?

    There is reserved Christian representation in the Jordanian Parliament and on the Palestinian Authority, whereas the ancient indigenous Christians in Israel, including Nazareth, face being stripped their citizenship, along with the ultra-Orthodox Jews, if the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister has his way.

    In the Lebanese homeland of Galloway’s wife, the Annunciation earlier this week was a public holiday because it unites the Christians and the Muslims, which latter also believe that Jesus was Virgin-born and the Messiah promised by the earlier prophets. But it is certainly not a public holiday in the land where it occurred, founded and run by people who, even on the rare occasions when they believe in God, adhere to the Talmudic view that Our Lady was a prostitute.

  • salieri

    A finely nuanced and thought-provoking article. We can at least all agree that the thing to be feared is the Day of Judgement.

  • Axstane

    “God knows who is a Muslim and who is not” refers to Islamic teaching that if you sack a city and kill most of its inhabitants Allah will take the Muslims amongst them to him.

    It is an excuse used in bombings of public places by the mullahs, ayatollahs and muftis.

    George Galloway is one of those politicians who can express three mutually exclusive opinons in a single day. Just depends on who he is talking to.

  • Sir Graphus

    Was there ever a politician more cynical than Galloway?

  • Ben G

    Melanie, I think you need to swot up on your theology a bit. Or at least check ‘Muslims and Jesus’ on Wikipedia.

  • daniel maris

    An interesting article spoilt by the ignorant assumption that a Muslim cannot be white, when of course there are millions of white Muslims.

    George is a good Dhimmi, just as he would have made a good local stooge of a Soviet Britain.

  • Alan

    Didn’t understand this story – until recently most Protestants did not drink alcohol. People in England are probably not aware of the “teetotal” traditions in other parts of the UK and Cornwall. Large parts of the “Christian” southern states in the USA are “dry” as is a significant percentage of such Anglo-Celtic countries like Australia.

  • Noa.

    Echoes of the Abbot Arnaud Amaury (“Kill them all, God will know his own”), during the Khazi of Bradford’s campaign rally last Sunday, footage of which was still available yesterday on his website, quoth:-

    “I’m a better Pakistani than he [Mr Hussain] will ever be. “God knows who’s a Muslim and who is not. And a man that’s never out of the pub shouldn’t be going around telling people you should vote for him because he’s a Muslim.”

    And peoples’ democracy spreads apace. ‘First Bradford, next Blackburn’. says Respec’.


    Let’s see our freedom loving RAF Typhoons bombing the last strongholds of the BNP in Lancashire’s suburbs as the Caliphate goes cross border!


  • Kittler

    Clear Memories, are we to believe, that in an Arabian cave, an omniscient god via an angel called Gabriel, revealed itself to a illiterate goat herd. In the absence of an iota of evidence for this extraordinary tale sane sensible people think that Mohamed made it up or more charitably was just delusional.

  • Irascible Old Git

    Clear Memories

    I’m always suspicious of ‘Truths’ discovered by people who have been wandering around in the desert for too long without adequate sun protection.

  • Archibald

    Enough with gorgeous George already. I’m starting to pine for the days of idiotic analysis and press hysteria about pasties and women setting fire to themselves in the kitchen being David Cameron’s fault.

  • Clear Memories.

    There is no conflict here. Jesus was the most important prophet before Mohammad had the revelations that took himself and all his followers to the Truth. George has found the Truth.

  • Irascible Old Git

    Much as I detested Galloway’s support for ‘insurgents’ fighting Allied forces in Iraq, I wish the man well as the new MP for Bradford West.

    George may hate New Labour and it all it stood for, but he loathes the Tories more.

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