As Ukip's spokesman for immigration, Gerard Batten MEP, a former candidate for mayor of London, has decried the "explosion of mosques" across Europe and claimed he would "refuse applications for new mosques until there's a non-Muslim place of worship in Mecca and Medina". Batten, who represents London in the European parliament, doesn't seem to have noticed that he might be missing a vote here and there in the May European elections, given that one in seven Londoners is Muslim.
In a move that is more alarming than the colour of his suit worn at sessions of the European parliament, apparently styled on Mr Blobby, Batten has called on British and European Muslims to sign a "charter for Muslim understanding". This code of conduct was first drafted in 2006 by Batten, but echoes anti-Semitic tracts that a Vichy regime would be proud of.
Delusionally aimed at Muslims in leadership roles, including muezzins and heads of NGOs, this charter assumes that the likes of the Muslim Council of Britain and al-Azhar – the 10th-century university in Cairo (and why not) – will jump at the chance to sign up to such things as denouncing sections of the Qur'an relating to jihad, confirming that "no violent physical jihad operation will be regarded as sacred" (article 6a) and that "no one who chooses to die in such an operation will be acknowledged as a martyr" (article 6c). Well I'm glad we cleared that one up.
Batten states in his foreword that Islamic fundamentalists are fuelling a propaganda war (erm…) and then writes that the "vast majority of Muslims that non-Muslims meet in everyday life are decent, respectable, law-abiding and hardworking". So why the heck does he need these law-abiding Muslims to sign it? The lack of insight is perhaps as much as could be expected from a man who, in an after-dinner speech, points at his Filipino wife, parading her as an ethnic mascot who he assumes gives him credibility to speak on immigration: "As you can see in my choice of wife, I am not opposed to immigration." Well done you for being an oxymoron.
But Batten's document even goes so far as to say that anyone who "deviates from the path of this charter … would be regarded as an outcast from the religion of Islam" and that these apostates would be "denounced as a non-Muslim and find no protection in the Muslim community". The irony is killing me.
It is surprising in light of recent flooding that Batten has not asked Muslim religious leaders to urge especially devout members of their communities (or indeed gay Muslims) to migrate back to their own countries to protect Somerset and western civilisation more generally from extreme weather.
Perhaps he might also like to consider issuing diversity forms for Muslims to help Ukip and others to filter out fundamentalists. An updated religion section would read: "If you ticked Islam, please tick the box that best describes you: a) moderate (ie charter signatory) b) I <3 Sharia c) Brody wannabe.
Please note: signatories are granted a one-way ticket to bongo bongo land.
Remona Aly is a freelance journalist and editor with a focus on British Muslim issues. She is also campaigns director for Exploring Islam Foundation, which specialises in media campaigns and resources
This article first appeared on the Guardian Comment is Free website
Photograph: Jean-Marc Loos/Reuters/Corbis