Monday, February 20

The Islamic Question - good and bad news.

One alarming and one hopeful article from the Sunday Telegraph (I'm a bit late on my weekend reading).

First the ">bad news: 40% of British Muslims favor introducing sharia law into some areas of Britain. And I thought that it was bad enough that Blair has consistently worked to undermine the centuries old protections of the common law--by trying to curtail the prohibition on double jeopardy and the right to trial by jury, and by importing foreign (literally) concepts of abstract rights into English law.

And now the good. Actually, you have to search pretty hard for any good news when a leading ex-Muslim (how rare is that?) predicts that "in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law." The good news is the clear-eyed thinking and brave (the punishment for conversion from Islam is death under sharia law) speech of an astute British commentator who understands the problems that Islam, and the Blair government's ham-handed (probably not the most sensitive adverb) rapprochement with the most vocal and hard-line imams.

The entire article is worth reading, and I had a difficult time selecting the best excerpts, but here is a taste of Dr. Sookhdeo's stark warnings and advice:

The Government, and Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, are fundamentally deluded about the nature of Islam," he insists. . . .

The Prime Minister's ignorance of Islam, Dr Sookhdeo contends, is of a piece with his unsuccessful attempts to conciliate it. And it does indeed seem as if the Government's policy towards radical Islam is based on the hope that if it makes concessions to its leaders, they will reciprocate and relations between fundamentalist Muslims and Tony Blair's Government will then turn into something resembling an ecumenical prayer meeting.

Dr Sookhdeo nods in vigorous agreement with that. "Yes - and it is a very big mistake. Look at what happened in the 1990s. The security services knew about Abu Hamza and the preachers like him. They knew that London was becoming the centre for Islamic terrorists. The police knew. The Government knew. Yet nothing was done.

"The whole approach towards Muslim militants was based on appeasement. 7/7 proved that that approach does not work - yet it is still being followed. . . .

"The trouble is that Tony Blair and other ministers see Islam through the prism of their own secular outlook. They simply do not realise how seriously Muslims take their religion. Islamic clerics regard themselves as locked in mortal combat with secularism. . . .

'Islamic clerics do not believe in a society in which Islam is one religion among others in a society ruled by basically non-religious laws. They believe it must be the dominant religion - and it is their aim to achieve this.

"That is why they do not believe in integration. In 1980, the Islamic Council of Europe laid out their strategy for the future - and the fundamental rule was never dilute your presence. That is to say, do not integrate. "Rather, concentrate Muslim presence in a particular area until you are a majority in that area, so that the institutions of the local community come to reflect Islamic structures. The education system will be Islamic, the shops will serve only halal food, there will be no advertisements showing naked or semi-naked women, and so on."

That plan, says Dr Sookhdeo, is being followed in Britain. "That is why you are seeing areas which are now almost totally Muslim. The next step will be pushing the Government to recognise sharia law for Muslim communities - which will be backed up by the claim that it is "racist" or "Islamophobic" or "violating the rights of Muslims" to deny them sharia law.

". . . The Government has already started making concessions: it has changed the law so that there are sharia-compliant mortgages and sharia pensions.

"The more fundamentalist clerics think that it is only a matter of time before they will persuade the Government to concede on the issue of sharia law. Given the Government's record of capitulating, you can see why they believe that."


"You have to distinguish between ordinary Muslims and their self-appointed leaders," explains Dr Sookhdeo. . . .

"Take, for example, Tariq Ramadan, whom the Government has appointed as an adviser because ministers think he is a 'community leader'. Ramadan sounds, in public, very moderate. But in reality, he has some very extreme views. He attacks liberal Muslims as 'Muslims without Islam'. He is affiliated to the violent and uncompromising Muslim Brotherhood. . . .

. . . What should the Government be doing? "First, it should try to engage with the real Muslim majority, not with the self-appointed 'community leaders' who don't actually represent anyone . . .

"Second, the Government should say no to faith-based schools, because they are a block to integration. There should be no compromise over education, or over English as the language of education. The policy of political multiculturalism should be reversed. . . .

"Finally, the Government should make it absolutely clear: we welcome diversity, we welcome different religions - but all of them have to accept the secular basis of British law and society. That is a non-negotiable condition of being here.

It is hard to miss the similarity between Blair's courting of self-appointed "community leaders," whose gift for bombast and self-promotion usually exceeds their desire actually to improve the lot of their communities, and American politicians' (particularly Democrats') ritual kow-towing before the Brobdingnagian egos of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the NAACP leadership. In fact, the comparison is so obvious that I can't be bothered to write any more on the subject. It's all too depressing.