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The British Government Cannot Be Trusted On Islamism

I’m sorry, but I have now completely lost faith in this Government’s ability to counter the Islamism in the United Kingdom. As you know, there are two schools of thought about how to deal with Islamism in this country. The … Read More

By / October 30, 2008

I’m sorry, but I have now completely lost faith in this Government’s ability to counter the Islamism in the United Kingdom.

As you know, there are two schools of thought about how to deal with Islamism in this country.

The first is that we should stop treating British people as if they were members of a confessional group, stop trying to mediate the State’s relationship with them through self appointed, and often very politically extreme religious and “community leaders”, and appreciate that true multiculturalism is something different than what Amartya Sen calls “plural monoculturalism”.

The second option is to treat Muslims as a monolithic bloc, and to proceed on the basis that Muslims will go over to Al Qaeda, unless we do a deal with Islamist groups – like Jamaat-e-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood – which promise only to advocate and carry out acts of terrorism abroad. The thinking is that Muslims are intrinsically a “problem”, and that we therefore need to cut a Northern Ireland-style deal with their ‘leaders’ who will keep their followers from blowing themselves up, in return for being granted a privileged position by the state, as intermediaries and advisers.

The second position is pushed, hard, by the the likes of Alistair Crooke’s Conflicts Forum, and assorted Islamists, whose aim has always been to establish this entrenched role in Western states. It has, disturbingly, been picked up on and adopted widely, by people who should know better. See, for example, this article by Peter Bergen in The New Republic, in which praise is heaped on Bob Lambert for his role in turfing Abu Hamza out of Finsbury Park Mosque, and installing Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood instead.

I thought that the Government had settled on the first method of combatting Islamism.

I was wrong.

A few months ago, I wrote about the Campus Salaam initiative, which was supposed to be the Government’s way of gently encouraging students away from the jihadist recruiters. Its first meeting was packed with Muslim Brotherhood speakers.

We’ve just had the disaster of the Global Peace and Unity Event, at which government ministers queued up to speak on a platform with 9/11 conspiracy theorists, Holocaust Deniers and inciters of terrorism.

Now, reports the Centre for Social Cohesion, there’s this:

From November the UK government will begin working with the Federation of Student Islamic Societies in the UK and Ireland (FOSIS) to try to better understand Muslim students. This policy is likely to backfire given that FOSIS are unrepresentative of Muslim students and regularly give a platform to extremist speakers.

The Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) has announced plans to “commission a study exploring the views and attitudes of Muslim students in England” involving a poll of 1500 Muslim students and focus groups, overseen by a steering group consisting of representatives from the National Union of Students (NUS), the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and FOSIS.

FOSIS leaders are influenced heavily by a narrow form of political Islam, inspired by Islamist parties such as Jamaat-e-islami and the Muslim Brotherhood, and the group regularly gives a platform to extremist speakers at British and Irish universities.

In November FOSIS will give a platform to Dr Azzam Tamimi at universities in the UK and Ireland on at least three separate occasions. Tamimi will speak at the FOSIS Palestine Conference 2008 at Nottingham University on 1st November and two events at Trinity College in Ireland on “Islamic Revivalism in the 20th Century” and “Chronicles of Islamic Political Thought” on 7th and 8th November.

Azzam Tamimi is a senior member of the Muslim Association of Britain, the British wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, who has been criticised for his alleged links to Hamas and his public comments justifying suicide bombing and inciting jihad against non-Muslims. In 2006 he told one BBC interviewer: “if I can go to Palestine and sacrifice myself I would do it.” Tamimi is also an opponent of Muslim integration. Speaking at an event in Manchester in August 2006 he told the audience, “We are Muslims in Europe, not European Muslims.”

Contrary to government beliefs, FOSIS is not representative of Muslim students. FOSIS represents and is made up of – as its name makes clear – Islamic Society (ISOC) members. A poll carried out by YouGov and the Centre for Social Cohesion of over 600 Muslim students earlier this year found that those active in their campus ISOC only make up 11.25% of Muslim students.

The survey also found that active ISOC members are more likely to subscribe to Islamist beliefs as well as being more likely to support religious violence, punishing Muslims who convert to other religions and the introduction of a worldwide caliphate based on Sharia law.

The Government cannot plead ignorance over this. We’ve had years to think about the nature of the politics of Islamism. We know what the practical consequences are, and we know that you cannot “cut a deal” with them. Remember the “covenant of security”, promised to the security services by Omar Bakri Mohammed and Abu Hamza? Precisely how long did that last, then?

This is a considered decision by Ministers, advised by civil servants, who have decided that as a matter of policy, the Government needs to cut a deal with Muslim Brotherhood front groups, to keep British Muslims “in line”.

Not only is this terrible politics: it utterly sells out British Muslims, and the citizens of this country in general.

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