Muslim “community leaders” churned out televised obfuscations


Maajid Nawaz wrote a piece for the Times yesterday. It’s behind a paywall, but even the extract posted by Quilliam contains good stuff.

The Isis man who apparently beheaded James Foley had a British accent. He is likely to be among the one out of every 800 British Sunni Muslim men of fighting age — around 500 of them — to have joined these jihadists in Iraq and Syria. This does not emerge from a vacuum. We in Britain have a deeply entrenched problem. Islamist extremism is poisoning our community relations, hijacking our youth, and we are doing very little to address it.

Throughout the Nineties our communities grew together, apart. This was applauded instead of being seen for what it was: fetishisation of minorities for those bent on romanticising “authentic” Eastern culture.

Foreign policy emerged as the popular cause for extremism, a half-truth at best, and Muslim “community leaders” churned out televised obfuscations in order to avoid addressing the obvious: what responsibility do Iraq’s slaughtered Yazidis bear for any foreign policy grievance? After much lobbying, David Cameron’s 2011 Munich speech finally recognised “Islamist extremism” head-on. But three years later and the Department for Communities and Local Government, which was tasked with challenging non-violent extremism, has yet to publish a counter-extremism strategy. British Muslims going abroad to fight is not new: it happened in Afghanistan. The only difference is that the ideology has been allowed to take root in the UK since then, and we are not doing anything about it.

Now, without a hint of irony, even al-Qaeda uses religious anti-extremism rhetoric to condemn Isis. But it is not good enough for Islamists merely to condemn.

Our collective efforts must focus on encouraging all people towards democratic values, minority and gender rights, equality and reason. This requires a strategy. But engaging on values is exactly what we have not been doing. More British jihadists will feature in Isis decapitation videos. And as our government hears no evil and sees no evil, we are woefully unprepared for when these jihadist fighters return home.

It’s a gruesome, horrible, miserable situation. With the right influences and inspirations and role models, most of these guys could be working to build infrastructure in Bangladesh or to care for Ebola patients in Liberia, but instead they’re dedicated to killing as many people as they can.

Comments

  1. jedibear says

    It seems to me that the proximate cause of British islamism is British islamophobia and racism. Extremism breeds extremism.

  2. quixote says

    “With the right influences … most of these guys could be working to build infrastructure”

    That assumes their motivation is a desire for selfless service that went awry. Admittedly, I don’t know any jihadis so I’m just guessing, but my guess is that power-tripping is a big part of it. You’re not going to get that building bridges in Bangladesh while the sweat pours off you and there’s not a camera in sight.

    Also, about that ignored extremism: never forget that it was ignored while women were the ones bearing the brunt of its crazy rules. Then it was just “cultural.” What’s that great poem? First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I said nothing.

  3. Al Dente says

    the Department for Communities and Local Government, which was tasked with challenging non-violent extremism, has yet to publish a counter-extremism strategy.

    Since Eric Pickles is now the minister for that department, it’ll be interesting to see if his islamophobia is stronger than his pro-religious fervor.

  4. Katherine Woo says

    It seems to me that the proximate excuse for British islamism is British islamophobia and racism.

    I fixed for you.

    Or if you prefer:

    It seems to me that the proximate cause for British islamism is British islamophobia and racism, whereas the ultimate cause is really the incompatibility between secular, liberal democracy and Islamic doctrine.

  5. Katherine Woo says

    Also, please cite a “British islamophob[e] and racis[t]” beheading a Muslim, in Britain or abroad.

  6. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    It seems to me that the proximate cause of British islamism is British islamophobia and racism. Extremism breeds extremism.

    And where does the extremism that breeds extremism come from? A lot of extremists are converts, so it looks like extremism is sometimes one of the attractions of islam.
    Most British muslim families have strong links with their ancestral countries and in the cases of Pakistan and Bangladesh that means there are strong strains of kaffirphobia and racism to feed the fire.

  7. RJW says

    @1 jedibear

    “It seems to me that the proximate cause of British islamism is British islamophobia and racism. Extremism breeds extremism.”

    That’s a remarkably patronising statement, the implication is that Islamism is simply a reaction to the attitudes of mainstream Western society and not an intrinsic element of the religion, in other words, the phenomenon is somehow entirely caused by Western prejudices, it’s not. You must be completely ignorant of Islam’s history.
    The ultimate cause of Islamism is Islam, it’s the nature of the ideology, unlike Christianity or Buddhism, Islam was violent from its inception. To many millions of Muslims, Islamists are faithful followers of their prophet and their prophet was a bandit leader and murderer.
    It’s about time we heard from all those putative millions of ‘moderate’ Muslims, so far dissembling appears to be the main game.

  8. Decker says

    @Katherine Woo

    It must be a deliberate provocation. No one can be that silly these days.

    …then maybe…

  9. says

    @2
    quixote

    “With the right influences … most of these guys could be working to build infrastructure”

    That assumes their motivation is a desire for selfless service that went awry. Admittedly, I don’t know any jihadis so I’m just guessing, but my guess is that power-tripping is a big part of it. You’re not going to get that building bridges in Bangladesh while the sweat pours off you and there’s not a camera in sight.

    Your dissagreement with Ophelia here makes it look like you think these people were born with a power tripping bent O_o

  10. quixote says

    brianpansky @9, I didn’t express it clearly enough. The “these guys” I’m referring to are the ones I thought Ophelia was referring to: the ones committing the atrocities. I didn’t mean how they’re born, but rather through whatever confluence of circumstances they’ve grown, they’re more interested in power than good works.

    I’m not really disagreeing with Ophelia. She says “most of these guys” and I’m sure that most would indeed be redeemable to some extent with lots and lots and lots of society-wide attention and work. They could at least be harmless, or maybe become politicians. I was only trying to say that they struck me as very incompatible with selflessness.

  11. says

    Well, what I was thinking is…this jihadist stuff is mostly a young man’s thing. It’s a kind of fad. Well, why? Partly because of the nature of (many) young men. They want adventure, excitement, big doings. That want could be directed to good things just as well as bad ones.

    So I was starting not from idealism, but from that energy and thirst for excitement that propels different kinds of radicalism. I think that energy and thirst for excitement could go in all sorts of different directions.

    I know that’s very gender essentialist. Apologies.

  12. Maureen Brian says

    Katherine Woo @ 5,

    Does it have to be a beheading? Would a thoroughly nasty extra-judicial killing plus cover-up meet your needs? In that case, Baha Mousa – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Baha_Mousa

    Or we could do you Amritsar in 1919 – death toll in excess of 1000, all unarmed and shot by the British Army – but of course they were Sikhs so they may not count for you – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallianwala_Bagh_massacre

    How many more do you want?

    I begin to see a trend developing and not just here. The people who have no grasp of the history – admittedly there’s rather a lot of it – are going to concentrate on the theatricality of the execution of Mr Foley, precisely so that they don’t have to go back more than 5 or 6 years to explain it, making the how more imporatnt than the why – as ever!

  13. Katherine Woo says

    To start, your total inability to defend jedibear’s inane claim about the cause of Islamism from myself or any of his other three detractors is noted. That was the actual subject at issue in our responses.

    But apparently you simply had to say something, because Allah forbid a criticism of Islam pass without certain leftwing atheists rushing to its defense. Thus you worked a nice sophistic response to the low-hanging issue of beheadings.

    How many more do you want?

    Well, your count of beheading of Muslims by British non-Muslims stands at zero, so even one example would be nice before you declare victory.

    I will agree the Baha Mousa death is a shameful and inexcusable incident for Britain or any civilized army. The major difference is the crimes against Baha Mousa are almost universally regarded as crimes in the West, even though most of the men responsible escaped punishment for procedural reasons. In contrast, corporal punishment is mandated directly by Allah in the Quran for non-violent offences, including the gruesome spectacle of cutting of a hand and foot and opposites sides of the body followed by crucifixion. Almost all Muslim-majority, excepting probably Albania, and Muslim-plurality Bosnia, utilize some form of corporal punishment. Among developed nations it is just the U.S. and East Asian democracies that maintain a death penalty.

    The fact you pulled in a non sequitur about Sikhs only indicates how desperate you are. If you really had a “grasp of history,” you would, for example, have cited British actions in Iraq under its League of Nations mandate.

  14. RJW says

    @8 Decker,

    Oh, yes, people can be that silly, particularly some PhD candidates in Cultural Studies or Comparative Religion who are amazingly ignorant of Islam’s history.

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