HOME PAGEA POLICY DECLARATION and SUBSCRIPTION CHANGEFROM LISBON TO VLADIVOSTOK 1979THE PERSONAL BLOG PAGE OF JOHN ROBERTSISRAEL SHAMIR - HOW TO BEAT THE PINK REVOLUTIONWHERE WE STAND - OUR MAIN POINTS OF POLICYEUROPE A NATION AFTER BREXIT - Spring 2016THE STORMER COMIC TRIAL IN SEPTEMBER 1981CHARLIE HEBDO, FREE SPEECH AND THE JEWSTHE ISSUE OF FREE SPEECHTHE EU REFERENDUM DEBATEWHY THE WEST FEARS ISLAM published 2015THE MYTH OF BRITISH SOVEREIGNTYTHE MYTH OF ISLAMIFICATIONA REAPPRAISAL OF MUHAMMED JOHN WEBSTERTHE EDITOR'S LENGTHY REPLY TO MICHAEL WOODBRIDGEOUR VIEWS ON NORDIC SUPREMACISMTHE FAR RIGHT FRINGE AND EUROPEAN ACTIONLOCKED UP IN BAHRAIN BY ALEXANDER BARON 2011SELECTED EDITORIALS FROM EUROPEAN SOCIALIST ACTION2015 INTERNATIONAL DAESH/ISIS CARTOON & CARICATURE COMPETITION2016 - 4th INTERNATIONAL 'RESIST ART' COMPETITION IN IRANUKIP'S NIGHT OF THE LONG KNIVESUK INDEPENDENCE PARTYNATIONAL PARTY OF EUROPEDECLARATION OF VENICE 1962ARE WE FASCIST?RUSSIA AND CRIMEAUKRAINIAN NATIONALISM: WARNING FROM HISTORYKARL MARX AN ANTI-SEMITE?THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ANTI-SEMITISMFASCISM WAS A BIG MISTAKE The Tragedy of Oswald MosleyOSWALD MOSLEY: WILD MAN OF THE LEFTWE ARE EUROPEAN SOCIALISTSWE ARE AGAINST GLOBAL CAPITALISMGREVILLE JANNERROBERT EDWARDS ON IRAN'S PRESSTVSYNDICALISM AS WORKERS' OWNERSHIPAL-QA'EDA IS A CREATION OF WESTERN GOVERNMENTSIMPORTANT LINKSTHE EUROPEAN BOOKSHOP'COMRADES IN STRUGGLE' CDsTHE FROST PROGRAMME DVDMOSLEY SPEAKS CDsHISTORY OF THE BLACKSHIRTS (book)ACTION 1936 book (new)BOOK REVIEW No 1 - THE ART OF CONTROVERSY (political cartoons) by Victor NavaskyBOOK REVIEW No 2 - BLACK SHIRT AND SMOKING BEAGLES by J L RisdonNUTTERS' CORNER No 1NUTTERS' CORNER No 2NUTTERS' CORNER No 3CABLE STREET 75 YEARS ONCONSPIRACY TO WAGE WARPOPULATION AND CONTROLEUROPEAN ACTION IMMIGRATION POLICYANIMAL WELFARE AND THE BRITISH UNIONKEEP RELIGION OUT OF POLITICSBRITISH MUSLIMS IN THE UKTHE LONDON BOMBINGSIRELAND'S RIGHT TO UNITETURKEY AND EUROPEISRAEL AND EUROPEPENSIONERS BETRAYED BY PETER KENDALLJEFFREY HAMM BY BILL BAILLIEUNDERSTANDING FASCISMFASCISM IS DEAD - BURY ITTOMORROW WE LIVE - 1938A PATRIOT'S EUROPEHENRY WILLIAMSON REVIEWED BY JOHN ROBERTSCOLIN WILSON REVIEWSON FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHEBUBS 2003-2011ROGER CLARE 1942-2016TONY HANCOCK 1947-2012TONY CREESE 1949-2010GEOFFREY H SMITH 1917-2011

Muhammed John Webster: from Sally Army to champion of  Islam 
 
 
by Robert Edwards 

JohnWebster.jpg
John Webster speaks

 
 
During the 1960s and 1970s, I would regularly attend open-air meetings of Mosley’s Union Movement in Kerbela Street off Brick Lane market in Bethnal Green, ending with a stroll to the Blade Bone pub in Bethnal Green Road. This pub was known as the “Mosley pub” and was used as the opening scene in the 1968 BBC TV Panorama programme on Mosley’s life. When the Blade Bone closed at 3.00pm, as was the law then, I would travel to Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner in the early 1970s with a couple of other UM members and listen to John Webster on his portable platform, surrounded by Palestinian Muslim bodyguards, speaking with tremendous oratorical skill and an expert’s knowledge of Islam. I was always impressed.

Recently, a leading light from the London Forum posted a copy of the racial nationalist Tyndallite organ Heritage & Destiny with a note requesting me to read certain pages of an article, the pages with references to John Webster. He thought I would be interested and he was right. The author of the article is the deputy editor of Heritage & Destiny Peter Rushton who fancies himself as an historian but an historian who twists the facts and speculates an awful lot. The motive for this article in European Socialist Action is to do justice to John Webster.

Rushton places Webster’s Islamic name, Muhammed, in quotes, implying there is something suspect or phoney about it. Not only that, Rushton places the Islamic name between John and Webster when it should read ‘Muhammed John Webster’. He also misspells Webster’s Islamic name throughout. Rushton speculates and employs guess-work, something that any reputable ‘historian’ would not do. Rushton says it is ‘probable’ that “Webster had disputes with fellow homosexuals in Mosley’s movement, never becoming part of UM”. Rushton does not offer any proof nor evidence for this but simply plants the seeds of something scurrilous and therefore defamatory. What was the nature of these ‘disputes’ and who were these homosexuals? He doesn’t say.

Rushton continues with the claim that someone had quit the BUF in 1936 to join “William Joyce and other national socialists in the Nordic League*”. Thereafter, Joyce and others formed the ill-fated National Socialist League after he was sacked by Mosley from a paid position in the BUF, shortly after elections in 1937. It was Joyce who was responsible for the title ‘British Union of Fascists and National Socialists” without any thought to the obvious contradictions. One being a theory of state and the other alluding to racial anti-Semitism leading to the exclusion of all Jews from society. A ‘national socialist’ is an admirer of Adolf Hitler and his policies. A fascist is influenced mainly by Benito Mussolini and the theory of the corporate state.

John Webster had started life as a teenage activist in the Salvation Army where his religiosity had been formed. He later dabbled in communism and then the anti-Semitism associated with some forms of fascism. An article in the Sydney Jewish News in March 1956 was published under the title ‘Webster and the Australian Party’. The following are excerpts.

The Australian Party in New South Wales in which Mr Webster, one of its leading lights, recently offered Jews conditional membership is not an organisation to which any self-respecting Jew would adhere. The Australian Party includes persons with fascist and anti-Semitic backgrounds.

     “Mr Webster who puts forward the policy of that party on the Sydney Domain every week, is an Englishman with a long record of association with pro-Hitler and anti-Semitic movements in England. Beginning his social career in the Salvation Army, he moved on to the Young Communist League and later joined the Communist Party.

     “After he was expelled from that body he appeared during the war as a leading figure in  such fascist, pro-Hitler and anti-Semitic organisations as the British National Party. He attempted to form another group, the English Legion, in February 1944. His policy was to spread anti-Semitic propaganda among the workers and to form a loose organisation embracing all groups with nationalist leanings into a united front.

     “During this time he had been evading national service but in March 1944 he appeared at Clerkenwell Police Court for failing to obey a direction to undertake agricultural work.  He claimed exemption as a conscientious objector on the grounds of his opposition to the war and support for fascism. He subsequently complied with the order, telling his friends that he would make as big a nuisance of himself as possible until he was kicked out.

     “During the winter of 1946, Webster conducted classes in anti-Semitism and fascist propaganda and under his direction many letters on these subjects were sent to the local press.

     “By this time he had made a comparative success of his bookshop, Essential Books, which he had opened in Taunton and then transferred to Bristol. It had become one of the main mail order centres for the distribution of fascist and near-fascist material and listed in its catalogue the notorious Protocols.

     “In 1947, he joined Mosley’s British Union [sic] and announced his three-point programme: clear out the Jews; break the Labour and TUC dictatorships; and close down parliament. Since those days, Mr Webster has often made statements denying his anti-Semitism but his record and his activities in Australia speak louder than his denials”.

Further to this report from the Sydney Jewish News, John Webster continued to speak on the Domain in Sydney, drawing much larger crowds than all the other speakers. He was doing this same thing at Speakers’ Corner in London where I listened to him on a Sunday afternoon, attracting larger crowds than that of the Zionists nearby. He confessed he was bitterly anti-Semitic but around the period of his association with Oswald Mosley his views changed. He said, “It was when Mosley said that we could ‘use the Jews’ that I realised I had been wrong all the time in my hatred”, followed with, “I wrote to the Jewish Chronicle to apologise. It was the only apology like that I have ever made and it is still the only one I feel”.

John Webster converted to Islam in 1958 and was given the Islamic name of Muhammed. Rushton belittles this aspect of Webster’s life with, “In 1959 he returned to Australia and after a few more years of life as a Muslim, became part of the 1960s counterculture in Sydney”. Webster’s life as a Muslim did not end in the 1960s because he was active as a Muslim speaker well into the 1970s in London. I heard him speak then with the total conviction of an inspired convert.

For a clearer understanding here are the words of John Webster, himself, on his journey to Islam. It is so familiar to many of those who have converted. Basically, it is a dissatisfaction with the West and its disastrous policies.

(Muhammad John Webster served as president of the English Muslim Mission)

Born in London I was brought up Christian of the Protestant persuasion. In 1930, in my teens, I was confronted with the problems normal to a reasonably intelligent young man, these problems being basically relating to the reconciling of everyday affairs with the claims of religion and here I came across the first weakness of Christianity.

Christianity is a dualism which regards the world as sinful and seeks to turn its back on the realities of life, projecting its hopes into a future world. As a result of this there is created a Sunday attitude towards religion which has no place in the rest of the secular week. At this time in England there was a great deal of poverty and social discontent which Christianity made no attempt to resolve.

More emotional than knowledgeable, with the enthusiasm of youth I rejected the Church and became a communist. Communism has a certain satisfaction at an emotional adolescent level but again it did not take long to realise the hateful nature of communism based upon class warfare, in itself immoral. Having rejected the materialism of communism I turned to the study of philosophy and religion.

The unity which I observed all around me led me to identify myself with what is known as Pantheism, a natural law religion. We in the West find it difficult to acquaint ourselves with Islam for since the days of the Christian Crusades there has been either a conspiracy of silence or a deliberate perversion of Islamic matters. Anyway at the time living in Australia I asked for a copy of the Holy Qur'an at the Sydney Public Library, when I was given the Book and was reading the preface by the translator, the bigotry against Islam was so obvious that I closed it up. There was no Qur'an translated by a Muslim available.

Some weeks later in Perth, Western Australia, I again asked at the library for a copy of the Qur'an stipulating that the translator must be a Muslim. It is difficult to put into words my immediate response to the first surah, the Seven Opening Verses: Then I read something of the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him). I spent hours in the library that day, I had found what I wanted, by the mercy of Allah. I was a Muslim.

I had not at this time met any Muslim. I came out of the library exhausted by the tremendous intellectual and emotional experience I had received. The next experience, I still ask myself: was it true or was it something I had dreamed up, for in cold print it seems impossible to have happened? I came out of the library intending to get myself a cup of coffee. I walked down the street and raising my eyes to a building beyond a high brick wall I saw the words `Muslim Mosque'. I straightway said to myself `You know the truth, now accept it'.

`La illaha illalah Muhammad ur Rasul Allah'* and so by the mercy of Allah I became a Muslim”.

(from ‘Islam - Our Choice’ compiled by Ebrahim Ahmed Bawany, 1961)

There is no racism in Islam, all men being equal before God. All Muslims are brothers within the Ummah. Christianity preaches something very similar but it is rarely practiced. The Anglican church is currently tearing itself apart over the issue of homosexuality, for example. Rushton takes a swipe at Webster by saying “he now opposed British imperialism, believing in the brotherhood of man, regardless of race or colour”. This is followed with “he used the address of  the Islamic Cultural Centre, now the famous Regent’s Park Mosque”. It is still called the Islamic Cultural Centre when I last had communication. The London Central Mosque is the correct title for the main building used for worship.

Intelligent people recognise there is a common humanity and that we are not divided into a superior race and the rest being of little or no worth. The sight of small children from Syria in great distress should be enough for our consciences and reduce the hardest, coldest heart to tears.

Muhammed John Webster arrived at his truth after a long journey. Rushton speculates again with a touch of malice. He writes, “Was the apparent crank “Mohammed” Webster acting as an agent of disruption on behalf of some agency ...?” It is a piece of poison with absolutely no foundation and he never follows it through, again. On the other hand, Rushton could be projecting something of himself there. I have a booklet in which Arthur Kemp, formerly of the BNP, accuses Rushton of being a Marxist plant along with some facts to back up this claim. Other BNP officials at that time were to later accuse Rushton of being a Searchlight agent.

People like Rushton hate Islam because it represents something that challenges their alleged “racial nationalism” and their whites only world. Thus, Muhammed John Webster would be a traitor to them all simply on account of his conversion to Islam. Rushton does not actually go that far but he leans very much in that direction.

I have the greatest admiration for the gifted and courageous John Webster, a man of an individualist nature who chose all the paths he travelled throughout his life. He came to realise that being ‘Jew-wise’ need not involve hatred. In itself, an important legacy.

 

*The Nordic League was founded in 1935 after representatives of Alfred Rosenberg's Nordische Gesellschaft came to Britain in order to established a British version of their organisation.The main drive behind the group was Unionist MP Archibald Maule Ramsay who chaired the group's 14 man leadership council. It was open to all irrespective of party, including members of the BUF.

 

* The shahada which every convert must recite in Arabic before two Muslim witnesses on converting to Islam.

This site is maintained by Robert Edwards