More madness in Londonistan

Melanie Phillips
Monday, 9th June 2008


The Communities Secretary Hazel Blears has hitherto been thought of as one of the few government ministers who ‘gets it’ as far as the threat to Britain from domestic Islamism is concerned. Well, judging from remarks she is reported today to have made she still has a long way to go. Responding to the Church of England report which claims that the government is paying only ‘lip service’ to Christianity and marginalising the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches while focusing ‘intently’ on Islam, Ms Blears says brightly that yes, this is so and quite right too:

She said it was right that more money and effort was spent on Islam than Christianity because of the threat from extremism and home-grown terrorism. Ms Blears told BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme: ‘That’s just common sense. If we’ve got an issue where we have to build resilience of young Muslim men and women to withstand an extremist message.’

You really don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Here is a government minister endorsing the sidelining of the founding faith of her country by an aggressively colonising religion whose adherents are determined that it should supplant that founding faith – and boasting that she is giving it British taxpayers’ money to do so in the name of defeating religious extremism. It’s all of a piece with the uneducation minister Ed Balls announcing that imams would be sent into schools to teach Islamic principles in citizenship lessons, or the Home Office decision not to prosecute individuals recruited to the jihad but to offer them ‘therapy and counselling from community groups’ instead.

The root of this madness is the government’s refusal to acknowledge the essence of the problem. Crippled by tunnel vision in which it sees al Qaeda alone as beyond the pale because the only threat the government recognises is terrorism, it fails to see that the other half of the attack is the attempt by Islamists to colonise the cultural sphere and transform Britain into an Islamic state. Its ‘counter-radicalisation’ strategy says that Islam is being misrepresented by extremists and so the counter-radicalising solution is to educate Muslims in ‘true’ Islam. It thus fails to grasp the key point that Islam is not the solution, it is the problem. That’s why even the Prime Minister of ‘moderate’ Malaysia has warned that Muslim extremism in Britain will grow unless the government and society learn to understand Islam – by which he means allowing Britain’s Muslims to live under Islamic law in Britain.

Yes, there are truly moderate Muslims, in Britain and around the world, who do not seek to live under Islamic law and are happy to live instead under the secular law of the land. But at present, mainstream Islam itself is not moderate. The four schools of Islamic jurisprudence mandate practices and principles which are inimical to a free society. Yes, there are brave Muslims who are now desperately trying to bring about an Islamic reformation, claiming that there are moderate traditions within the religion which can be reclaimed and thus turn scimitars into human rights. Maybe that is so; we must all hope they are correct and give them every support in their courageous endeavour.

But at present, it is not so. Many moderate Muslims are moderate because they are ‘cultural’ rather than religious Muslims and are indeed largely ignorant of the tenets of Islam. If they are taught those tenets, the state of the religion being as it is at present, they are likely to become radicalised rather than the reverse. Yet this is what Ms Blears is pouring state funding into doing. This is the true insanity of the government’s counter-radicalisation programme.

In order effectively to counter radicalisation, you have to identify correctly what is radical and what is not. But the government seems incapable of doing so. It does not seem to grasp, for example, that any ambition to colonise British public life for Islam should be absolutely unacceptable and that the core criterion of moderation is that Muslims must live in Britain under the law of the land like every other minority does.

Which is why the government’s new £12.5 million ‘counter-radicalisation’ programme to support ‘moderate’ Muslim voices and encourage positive role models to build up ‘resilience’ to extremist ideology will almost certainly go to individuals and groups who are not moderate at all but extremists because the government doesn’t know how to tell the difference. Which is why state funding already goes to jihadis, and why there are also jihadis advising the government on how to combat Islamist extremism.

For any Muslim to be truly moderate, he or she would need to subscribe to the principles set out by the Islam expert Sam Solomon in his Charter of Muslim Understanding, including the following:

· promoting the validity and the viability of the national domestic law to be fully adhered to and taking precedence over the Shari’ah...

· there will be no recriminations against any Muslim or non-Muslim who chooses to change, discard, or adopt another faith be it within the House of Islam, from any Islamic faction, or to a non-Islamic religion or faith.

· To discard all texts that discriminate with impunity against Christians and Jews by describing them as Kaffirs, apostates, polytheists, the children of apes, and swine, and prohibit any inciting, insulting, and all discriminatory references based on their religion

· To abandon the practice of takffir (infidel) against anybody, be that a Muslim or a non-Muslim. (Once a Muslim leader declares anyone as such, it is for the faithful ones to see that person eliminated.)

· To prohibit and abolish the practice of Takkiya (Islamic doctrine of legitimate lying and deception of others) to advance the cause of Muslims and Islam…

· Request all officially constituted Islamic bodies and institutions to revise and issue new interpretations of those Qur’anic verses that call for Jihad and violence against non-Muslims.

Now that’s counter-radicalisation. But you will not see that in Londonistan.


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