British Islam – Friend Or Faux?
It’s become something of a cliche now, hasn’t it? We’re always hearing about it, usually after someone’s been stabbed in broad daylight by a home-bred jihadi or some machete-brandishing, bearded crackpot has been arrested. We are told that the Muslims here in Britain aren’t that way inclined. That those who come to reside here are of the ‘moderate’ school of thought. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It has a rather tolerant and secular ring about it, to me it says something like “As-Salaam Alaikum, we are your new neighbours. And yes, if the headscarf didn’t give it away, we are Muslim. But don’t fear, we come in peace, to embrace and enrich your culture. We do not agree with or approve of your pork, your licentious garments or your homosexual population, but in the spirit of human solidarity, we shall respect your individuality nonetheless.”
But is such a sentiment of tolerance and solidarity a truly accurate depiction? I must confess my own private suspicions, particularly when it comes to the more political face of Islam, or Islamism.
One aspect of Islam in politics I find most alarming is the reluctance of the vast majority of politicians to even call it by it’s name. In the aftermaths of the recent Islamic terror attacks in Manchester, by Salman Abeidi at an Ariana Grande concert, killing Georgina Callander, Saffie Rose Roussos, John Atkinson, Olivia Campbell, Alison Howe, Lisa Lees, Angelika, and Marcin Klis, Martyn Hett, Kelly Brewster, Jane Tweedle-Taylor, Nell Jones, Michelle Kiss, Sorrell Leczkowski, Liam Curry, Chloe Rutherford, Elain McIver, Wendy Fawell, Elidh MacLeod, Courtney Boyle and Philip Tron, and that on London Bridge and Westminster by Khalid Masood, killing Aysha Frade, Kurt Cochran, Leslie Rhodes and Keith Palmer. Prime Minister Theresa may did not even seem willing to use the term ‘Islamic terrorism’, instead electing to perpetuate the more popular, PC narrative of “Nothing to do with Islam.” I find it rather intriguing, what constitutes having anything to do with Islam? A fair few Muslims have, in fact, begun a hashtag trend on social media; ‘#NotInMyName’. Such denouncements and renouncements of terrorist tactics and extremism is very laudable, and any who genuinely share such sentiments are to be commended. One would certainly like to consider that they represent the majority, but again, I’m not convinced.
For example, consider the national outrage during what has been nicknamed ‘The Rushdie Affair’, when British Indian author Salman Rushdie published his novel ‘The Satanic Verses’ in 1988, based peripherally on the life of the Prophet Muhammad, and in its title, referencing several verses in the Qur’an known as the Satanic Verses, which cover certain ‘false’ revelations, given to the Prophet (misogyny and homophobia be upon him) by three Meccan, pagan deities.
Numerous rallies and protests were held throughout the country, very often in the typical, aggressive style we have come to expect. Most concerningly, many public officials, both Muslim and non-Muslim were quick to put on the usual long faces and condemn Mr Rushdie for offending certain religious sensitivities, but very few went to great lengths, if any, to equally condemn the death sentence and $2.8,000,000 bounty placed on his head by the Iranian government, by order of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989. Both Pope John Paul II and Robert Runcie (Archbishop of Canterbury at the time) both elected to largely ignore the death sentence and bloodthirsty enthusiasm regarding it, instead choosing to condemn his heretical writings, as though blasphemy against even a different religion from their own was somehow a more heinous crime than murder in the 20th century. Nor, I suspect, did any take the time to actually read the novel themselves.
In fact, this conclusion was almost unanimous in the religious world.
Sayeed Abdul Quddus, then secretary of the Bradford Council Of Mosques said during a demonstration;
“Muslims here would kill him, and I would willingly sacrifice my own children to carry out the Ayatollah’s wishes should the opportunity arise.”
The fact that this wretched, medieval pinhead would even suggest that he would contemplate sacrificing his children to carry out a death sentence on someone he had never met, for the crime of writing a novel which he had never read, by the command of a deranged, megalomaniacal despot from a distant land is yet another example of the potency of this toxic virus of the mind and the influence of it’s various death cults.
Dr. Kalim Siddiqui, then the director of the Iranian backed Muslim Institute, allegedly shouted at a meeting;
“I would like every Muslim to raise his hand in agreement with the death sentence on Salman Rushdie.”
A great many non-religious figures (again, none of whom had actually taken the time to read the book, along with almost every other hysterical, reactionary critic of the novel) also saw fit to involve themselves in a spectacular act of self-flagellating grandiloquence to demonstrate their ‘tolerance’.
Far from universal condemnation of this murderous expression of fanaticism, they instead took the safe bet and like a mob of craven little dhimmis, they did not only content themselves by nodding in smug, sanctimonious approval at the fatwa and the hysterical reaction from the religious population, but used their positions to peripherally encourage violence.
Eminent historian Lord Dacre announced with self-righteous gusto;
“I would not shed a tear if some British Muslims, deploring Mr Rushdie’s manners, were to waylay him in a dark street and seek to improve them.”
Former Labour MP Keith Vaz (rent boys and cocaine, anyone?) led a 3,000 strong demonstration, during which he carried a large banner depicting the head of Mr Rushdie, complete with fangs and horns, superimposed on the body of a dog, and had intended to burn an effigy of him.
Yet following the massacre of Christians in Egypt this past Palm Sunday, how many Muslim demonstrators did you see in the streets, denouncing the violence? In the recent storm regarding the internment camps for homosexuals in the predominantly Islamic Chechnya – where over 95% of the population is Muslim, and where numerous reports have emerged regarding the torture and sometimes even the execution of homosexuals, we have seen much shock and outrage. Yet how many Muslims have you seen protesting this sickening purge? Or better yet, how many news outlets, besides the more right-wing and nationalist associated one’s pointing out or even mentioning this correlation?
As recently as 2010, when the United Nations, lobbied by Saudi Arabia, removed sexual orientation from a list of prohibited justifications for arbitrary execution, allowing these theocratic insane asylums to execute homosexuals simply for the crime of being, where was the ‘moderate’ outrage? One cannot possibly claim moderation and solidarity and in the same breath turn a blind eye to such atrocities committed in the name of one’s faith. And I’m very sorry, but to simply dismiss it as ‘not representative of your personal stance’ simply is not enough.
We have even begun to see various Muslim politicians entering the fray and attempting to undermine our largely secular political sphere. A prime example would be former Conservative Cabinet Minister, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, about whom I have written on previous occasions.
An outspoken advocate of religion and faith within the legislature, on more than one occasion expressing disdain for the lack of religion in the European Constitution, she also seems to oppose the spread of secularism, who in 2012 she was quoted as having said during an interview;
“For me, one of the most worrying aspects of this ‘militant secularisation’ is that at it’s core it is deeply intolerant. It demonstrates similar traits to totalitarian regimes – denying people the right to a religious identity because they are frightened of the concept of multiple identities.”
From this statement alone it is clear that Baroness Warsi is either under a grave misapprehension about the core values of secularism, or as I suspect, is deliberately attempting to misrepresent it.
Now, I have on occasion raised my own personal concerns in regards to pseudo-secular states such as our own. Whilst not precisely partial to any particular faith or other belief system, it does seem, at least in our case, to leave something of a central, ideological vacuum, which Islamism appears to be doing it’s very best to fill. However, the very concept of ‘militant secularism,’ as Ms Warsi so lovingly phrases it, is something of an oxymoron. The entire basis of secularism is the free exchange of beliefs and views, the importance of civilised discourse, the freedom of each and every individual to hold and express his or her own opinions and ideas in confidence and safety, so long as the aforementioned views do not infringe upon the rights and liberties of others and that nobody be excluded otherwise. It is not possible for a secularist to be ‘militant’ or ‘extreme,’ because the moment one begins to dictate what a person may think or say, one ceases to be a secularist. Of course, this immediately rules out Ms Warsi.
She stirred up considerable controversy with her notorious resignation from her position in the foreign office in protest at the government’s policy regarding Gaza, calling it “Morally indefensible.”
This is almost assuredly because the government’s position is generally more favourable for the Israelis than it is for the Palestinians, or more specifically Hamas. It is of course true that many innocent Palestinians have been murdered or otherwise maimed at Israeli hands, such as when Barrach Goldstein opened fire on Muslim Palestinians at prayer in Abraham’s tomb in Hebron in 1994, killing 29 civilians and injuring a further 125, or when Mohamed Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and butchered at the age of 17 in 2014 in an apparent revenge attack after the murder of 3 Israeli teenagers at the hands of Palestinians, but as you can see there is blood on the hands of either side. The salient fact is that the Israeli government is the only real side making noticeable efforts for a ‘two state solution,’ where Hamas seems more concerned with annihilating the Jewish state, and the Jewish people at large. So, it’s something of a no-brainer as to which side the Government allows its official support to.
There is of course no clear indication from this that Ms Warsi herself is some form of Islamist or radical sympathiser, but her comments ought to arouse suspicion in even the slowest of minds. And her links to several figures who fit the Islamist description are hardly a secret.
For example, The Cross-Government Working Group on anti-Muslim Hatred, which she worked closely with former deputy PM Nick Clegg to fund and manage.
As the name suggests it was set up in order to tackle Islamophobic bigotry and intolerance, and for a time it did some good work alongside the group Monitoring Anti-Muslim Attacks. However, MAMA had its public funding cut in the wake of the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich in 2013 after the group was discovered to be grossly exaggerating it’s claims of ‘attacks’ on Muslims, after 57% of said ‘attacks’ were found to be nothing more than mildly offensive comments on social media, a great deal not even originating in Britain and 16% being totally unverifiable at all. The same MAMA that can be found to this day, bellyaching about Islamophobia following every single Islamic terror attack.
As for the Cross-Government Working Group, Warsi was alleged to have filled its ranks with numerous radicals, well known for their perpetual bellyaching and spurious grievance-mongering, most with several strong links to extremist groups.
Men such as Zakir Naik, who personally called for bans on numerous well known hate preachers from entering Britain to be lifted, and was quoted as saying “All good Muslims should be terrorists.” The footage of this can be found by a simple Googl or Youtube search.
Another example would be Muddassar Ahmed of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (so many committees, I mean really!) which ran aggressively anti-Semitic smear campaigns against Labour MPs Jack Straw and Lorna Fitzimons, about whom Muslim electorates received fliers urging them not to re-elect on the grounds that she was Jewish (which she is not). The addition of such ‘colleagues’ to the group even led to the resignation of moderate and secular Fiyad Mughad, who was quoted as saying that he did so because he was “Deeply concerned about the groups several other members had connections with.” So, with disgusting acts of intimidation and intolerance committed with such regularity and such little response, is it really fair to suggests that Ms Warsi’s position is based upon an Islamist ideology, rather than simply the usual deference to the arcane, quasi-mystical and of course the ever-reliable brown skin?
Well, the evidence when compiled together certainly seems to indicate as much.
Not only is she a Muslim herself, which on it’s own would suggest a bias in favour of her religion, she filled the ranks of public-funded groups with radicals and fundamentalists and regressive apologists, has her own links to anti-semites and Islamist clowns, and if one takes the time to chart her politics, one may observe that while the regularly change to suit popular opinion, her agenda has always remained predominantly faith-based, anti-secularism and closet Islamist.
During an interview with the Telegraph in 2012, she said of secularism;
“Secularism is not intrinsically damaging, my concern is when secularism is pushed to an extreme and calls for the complete removal of religion from the public sphere.”
Not unlike her previous quoted comment, this demonstrates either total disregard for the meaning of secularism and the values it represents, or more likely a deliberate attempt to misrepresent it as some form of far-right, totalitarian ideology of ignorance and oppression.
Well known also for her own relentless bellyaching, special pleading, spurious grievance-mongering and egregious accusations of intolerance, she recently claimed that governments treats religion like “Fairies, Goblins, and imaginary friends.” Perhaps she means Theresa May’s decision last year, to allow faith schools to accept 100% pupils of the same faith? Or that the third world pressure group we know as the United Nations not only passed a non-binding resolution to criminalise blasphemy but as aforementioned, also to remove sexual orientation from a list of prohibited reasons for arbitrary execution, as previously mentioned?
It may also be worth noting that Warsi never seems to voice much criticism over atrocities carried out in the name of religion, instead telling us all how oppressed she feels. Poor her. This is of course, typical of political faith.
I am sure she feels very oppressed indeed with all the legislation that deems criticism of her religion Islamophobic or racist, and in her own more or less untouchable position where she and her like minded friends and colleagues may erode at free speech for as long as they like and silent any criticism and dissent. This would be one occasion where one must remember the important distinction between a politician with religion, and a religious politician. The latter will invariably push his or her own theological agenda onto everyone else, regardless of how unwelcome it may be.
This tendency toward a victim complex and the lack of unanimous criticism toward atrocities committed in the name of Islam – regardless of whether you feel they actually represent the faith – is my own secondary concern. And this only seems to legitimise and as such perpetuate attacks, atrocities, and attempt at political manipulation by Islamists. The saddest thing about these attacks is that while we are all deeply sickened and horrified, none of us are remotely surprised anymore. We simply expect it now. On the 22nd, the day after the attack, I attended a seminar at Glaziers Hall, right next to London Bridge, on the river. Where the most recent attack took place. An American friend of mine advised me to be careful and I caught myself scoffing, remarking that London hadn’t seen an attack for over a month. Is this how cynical we have become? Maajid Nawaz went on CNN and explained to the children there that this revivalist Salafi/Wahhabi doctrine of Islam is slowly becoming mainstream amongst Sunni Muslims in Britain, due to the number of madrassas and Mosques receiving funding and instruction from groups in Saudi Arabia. I have been saying this for three years, along with several friends and associates. Many others have said the same. And what reception did we meet? A shrill chorus of ‘racist’ and ‘Islamophobe’ from pious, politically motivated Muslims incapable of taking criticism, and politically correct numpties on the regressive left, and indeed certain figures in the Conservative Party, blinded by their own faith, who cringe with every incident of scrutiny. If you find yourself in the same boat that you become distressed argumentative in the face of harmless scrutiny, then perhaps it is you with the phobia.
People often suggest that I am generally somewhere between incredulous and outright hostile to religion, particularly Islam, because of my ignorance. After all, I’m just a simple country boy with no understanding, I really should read the Qur’an and familiarise myself with Muslims. This is, to a certain point, true. I only know very well perhaps five or six Muslims personally, with whom I rarely discuss faith or politics, and while I have read most of the Qur’an, I have neither memorised it nor examined all of the Hadith – which as you are no doubt aware number into the tens of thousands. This is also the case for the vast majority of British men and women, most of whom have never read the Qur’an and would perhaps know a small handful of Muslims only in passing. So, when a terrorist shouts “Allahu Ackbar!” as he guns down or stabs or blown up unarmed civilians, or they see footage of an imam preaching hatred violence, justifying himself with sura and verse, they will instinctively become hostile and fearful, and who can blame them? Even when verses are paraphrased or taken out of their intended context, we simply won’t know. And part of the trouble is neither will a lot of Muslims. For example “Slay the pagans wherever ye find them and seize them, beleaguer them and lie in wait for them.” – (9:5) Which has an awkward tendency to undermine the more peaceful verses, doesn’t it? Another example can be found in sura thirty three, ‘The Joint Forces’; “Prophet, tell your wives, your daughters and women believers to make their outer garments hang low over them. This will make it more likely that they will be recognised and not abused: God is most forgiving, most merciful.” 33:59
What does this verse say to you? Call me something of a cynic, but it does appear to me to suggest that to “Abuse” women not dressed adequately, or a non-Muslim woman is perfectly acceptable, perhaps even justified. Far from peaceful or the ‘feminist’ religion we’re so often instructed to believe it to be. Personally, I also find it a rather amusing detail that this verse, along with the beginning of every sura (with the exception of sura nine, from which the previous verse was quoted) feels the neurotic need to remind us all how forgiving and merciful God is – in case we had forgotten – while in the same breath, in verse fifty eight of the same sura, the preceding verse, states that God has prepared a “Humiliating torment” for all those who insult him and his prophet, and that those who “Undeservedly insult believing men and women will bear the guilt of slander and flagrant sin.” Well, I suppose even the most forgiving and merciful God has a bit of an unpredictable temperament from time to time. After all, he’s only human. However, many Islamic scholars will argue that 9:5, despite it’s initial vibe, it does not in fact enjoin a conquest against unbelievers, instead suggesting that it refers to a time when the ‘pagans’, meaning established Arabian polytheist groups in Mecca and Medina, had begun breaking peace treaties with the Muslims and forcing them to convert and abandon their faith upon pain of exile or death. Abdel Haleem explains it as “It was these hardened polytheists in Arabia, who would accept nothing other than the expulsion of the Muslims or their reversion to paganism, and who repeatedly broke their treaties, that Muslims were ordered to treat in the same way – either to expel them or accept nothing from them except Islam. But, even then, the Prophet and the Muslims were not simply to pounce on such enemies, reciprocating by breaking the treaties themselves; an ultimatum was issued, giving the enemy notice that, after the four sacred months – Rajab, Dhū al-Qa’dah, Dhū al-Hijjah and Muharram – the Muslims would wage war on them.” Now, this does seem to me, as an unbeliever, to be somewhat apologetic and contradictory, and I must note Haleem’s clear bias in favour of his faith and his Prophet. But I shall accept for the sake of cohesion that this interpretation is the correct one. Even granting that, however, while the majority of non-Muslims may see it as encouraging hostility and the killing of unbelievers, perhaps not understanding the context, am I seriously expected to believe that the vast majority of British Muslims will know this to be the case? That all have read and studied their Qur’an in its entirety, rather than hearing their imams at Friday prayer and essentially just taking their interpretation as, well… gospel? This seems a ridiculous claim.
Now this may seem like nothing more than a diatribe. A critical and discriminatory dismissal of a significant percentage of the people of this great nation and an attempt to simply undermine them. I would like to consider it somewhere between an observation and an appeal. I do not claim to be an expert on these matters, nor do I claim to represent the views or feelings of the majority of non-Muslims here in Britain. However, you and I am both all too aware that many, many others feel this way. We see these same patterns and become suspicious. Maajid Nawaz, whom I mentioned before, a former Islamist who recently co-wrote ‘The Future Of Tolerance’ with Sam Harris, he confessed during an interview that the vast majority of so called ‘moderate’ Muslims in Britain would have considered it less controversial if he had conspired instead with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of IS, to write a book, as opposed to the outspoken atheist, philosopher, and neuroscientist that is Harris.
How on earth, on the back of such a claim, can we assume anything except that the concept of moderate, ‘British Muslims’ is either a phallusy or simply not representative of even a fraction of the Muslims we are led to believe, or rather instructed to believe.
The question was posed to me not too long ago, ‘Would I support a ban on Muslim migration into the UK?’
This was a difficult question, and one none of us ought to take lightly. Yet also not one we should be so eager to dismiss.
I should like to leave this question open for any reader to consider and ask themselves. Do not be so quick to give any answer, do not even feel obliged to give an answer. But ask yourself the question. Take my own arguments into account, and don’t take my word for it, I urge you to research both my own facts and other information for yourselves.
And should this be read by a British Muslim? We here in Britain, or at least, I think, the majority, want to be your friends. We want to perpetuate and stand for the secular values we purport to hold, we want to accept anyone and everyone regardless of race or creed, and we want to do so without fear for our lives, our freedom or even our right to say what we do and do not think.
Help us, work with us. Don’t just utter hollow, empty platitudes, you must be loud and unambiguous in your renouncement of extremism or other ideals incompatible with a free and secular society. Perhaps you feel this is unfair. Why should you have to prove a negative? I sympathise. But your faith is in the 21st century, as Catholicism was for so long, the harbinger of war, oppression, censorship, and theocracy. Should we ban all Muslim migration to the UK? This may soon be a real question. It’s up to you to work with us to make genuine moderate Islam the mainstream here in the UK. Please, don’t let yourselves down.