Reaction to the horrific, premeditated murder by Islamist fanatical jihadists was predictable. Our politically correct government politician walk on eggshells saying how barbaric the this attack was and we mustn’t confuse their action (which the two jihadists shouted they carried in name of Islam) and Islam as there is ‘nothing in Islam justifies this murder’ like what the Prime Minister David Cameron said (and give him credit for his measured reaction compared to Tony Blair who might have tried to capitalise on it). Then the self-appointed leaders of the ‘Muslim Community’ (and for years I have been struggling to understand what does it actually mean). As expected, they rolled out stock of the pre-prepared old rhetoric condemning the barbaric savage act, cursing the two individuals in question and insisting that there is nothing in Islam to support this action. However , we are unlikely to hear from those described as ‘moderate’ or respected Islamic clergy, a clear fatwa forbidding such acts or saying something to the effect that targeting an off duty soldier, or forcing your interpretation of Islam on others or engaging ( or promoting) acts of violence as jihad ( which actually means self control and holy mission of discipline to tread the correct path as an individual) is forbidden under Islamic teaching; a fatwa issued with the same zeal and strength as those fatwas we hear banning films, or condemning books, cartoons or works of art they claim offend Muslims sensibility and often lead to mob-lynching and violence . The third predictable reaction usually comes was from the British left trying to justify (they would say they try to explain or understand the motives) such nonsense by falsifying history linking this acts of extreme mad violence with British or ‘western foreign policy’ (they mean American policy since the left is anti-American).
There are complex of issues here but I will focus mainly on British Muslims and the confused message they get about their identity. The third generation British Muslims is culturally schizophrenic. While the first and second generations were fully integrated * and almost third fully assimilated), girls had no problem sticking to school uniform and didn’t bother with head-cover hijab and even shortened their names or had nicknames to sound English ( Asmaa became Emma, Aysha became Tish, Edris became Eddy, Mohammed Mo, etc ) now you have younger generation radicalised and encouraged by political Islamists activists to use imported cultural symbols to stand different from rest of society and live in cultural ghetto.
From second half of 1990s and in the last decade, we witnessed how underage girls who are too young to vote or decide on marriage have been encouraged to create trouble at school by shedding the uniform and insisting on hijab or a defiant code of dress dangerous in chemistry lab or during sports activities. And instead of frogmarching the rebellious girl to the headmistress’s office or giving her detention, or sending her home until she conforms, the school admin is cowed by leftwing pro-multiculturalism human rights lawyers using article 8 to demolish what is left of school discipline.
Multiculturalism became a way of separation rather assimilation and integration. It is also worth mentioning financial and economic benefits of activists, groups ( lead by self styled non elected leaders) who get finance from local authorities , Home Office programmes and the like .. Little wonder they to strengthen and deepen separate multicultural identities rather than work for assimilation or at least full integration.
Whenever atrocities like Woolwich barbaric murder happens, self-styled Muslim leaders like Muslim Council of Britain, Muslim Parliament, (which they can’t set up in Muslim Country implementing Shariaa like Pakistan) various bodies of imams ( mosque vicars) etc take to the airwaves and repeat what we heard before.. They condemn the act of deranged individuals; they say it had nothing to do with Islam, which they would describe as “peaceful and tolerant” religion etc. In short, they would do their upmost to erase links between ideology driven out of theological interpretation of Islam and the murderous act of the crazed individuals. However if you listen to the same leaders and commentators speaking to exclusively Muslim audience , or during the Friday lesson ( if they happen to be imams or clergy) or during public debate ( when there is no acute crisis of Woolwich style) you notice not only the disingenuous basis of their logic but also the cultural schizophrenia of their identity. They often refer to British or western foreign policy towards Muslim nations or in Muslim land as explanation (what they meant an excuse) of acts of mindless terrorism. You hear their message to their congregation that they belong to a worldwide universal cross-borders community ( Muslim umma) which doesn’t recognise nation state.
This message confuses young Muslims about their identity. I am standing to correction, but in many years as a journalist of covering news, I do not recall hearing a Muslim clergy instructing congregation to cooperate with the police, or encourage them to report radicalisation activities going on in the local vicinity to the authorities. There are some who want to address it, but almost like the IRA in Northern Ireland, or the mafia in Sicily or USA Italian community in early 1920s, they want to deal with it themselves and not involve the police or non-Muslim authorities.
This brings to mind another serious identity crisis for British Muslims, with a confused sense of where they belong or exact definition of their identity as British citizens creating a conflict between the law of the land, and what they were brought up to believe in ( let us admit that faith, any religion, is an irrational cultural identity imposed on a child before the age of consent, at an age where the mind in no position to make an informed choice. We don’t permit children under 18 to buy fags, or be served in bars or to vote; et we allow this child abuse of forcing hijab on girls as young as nine and let imams teach six and seven years old to hate non-Muslims or at least let religious dogma being rammed down their throat before the reach legal age of knowing right from wrong, we basically tolerate a robotic uniformity or brainwashing of children who are not mentally in a position to make a free choice). Thus, they fall into a trap of confusion about which laws and rules govern their lives and their day-to-day behaviour.
The self styled Islamic “leaders ” and clergy taking to the airwaves to condemn murderous acts of terrorism, whether 7/7 , 9/11 or Woolwich butchery , and flood the moat separating the violent act from -” Islam as a great faith” hardly address the issue of Muslim activists call for shariaa (narrowly defined puritan Islamic law) to supersede “man-made laws” . What they meant by the latter, is the law of the land as stated and amended as needed by acts of parliament we elected for centuries as the body the nation reached a consensus to make the supreme institution responsible for legislation and should be the ONLY body to represent us, taxpaying electorate. (see what Egyptian Muslim Scholar and author Tarek Heggy wrote last year:on the Islamists refusal to recognise man-made laws by parliament : ‘The cornerstone of the theory, which is the essence of Islamic thinking, is that humans must not set the rules governing relations between people, but that these can only be set by the Almighty. To this day, not a single leader of any movement of political Islam has reconsidered the idea of hakemeya [the Islamist view of man-made laws] introduced by Sayed Qutb in his famous treatise, “Signposts Along the Road” … Thus the Islamist has a constant problem with man-made constitutional and legal rules.…‘Certainly the leaderships of most schools of political Islam refuse to describe the suicide attacks launched by Muslim fanatics against civilians as terrorist attacks. Certainly too none of them consider Osama bin Laden a terrorist. Indeed, most hold him in high regard…’ )
Most Muslim organisations ( majority established and found their Islamic identity on a negative launch-pad in 1989/1990 during the mad and irrational reaction to the publication of the novel ” the Satanic Verses ” by Salman Rushdie, which was a campaign financed and fuelled by islmsists political forces from abroad) However whenever you ask a Muslim leader of one of those organisation to address the issue of what would be his advice to his followers when there is a contradiction between the law of the land as laid down by our elected parliament and their cultural interpretation of shariaa ( like in case of underage school girls breaking rules on uniform).. You NEVER get a straight answer ( which should always be .. “The law of the land takes precedence and should be supreme”.) Those leaders would cloud your vision and drown your ears with noisy multiculturalism jargon about minorities’ rights to practice their cultural preference . Then they would give you an avalanche of historic examples of how tolerant Islam was and no compulsion in religion ( although they are always silent on what goes on in their countries of origin or their parents countries of origin like jailing, whipping and sometimes execution of homosexuals or of Muslims who convert to other religion or accused of blasphemy or Muslim Women stoned because they dared to love or marry a non Muslim). They would twist history and tell you how Jews and Christians lived in harmony and enjoyed “protection” of Muslims when Andalusia ( now Spain) was ruled by Muslims ( they leave out facts like it was a Moorish colonial rule where indigenous population of non Muslims were subjected to paying poll-tax known as jizyah ) .. However, they get away with it without addressing the question of which law should take supremacy: Law of the land or shariaa? (Thanks to a poor job by media programme researchers or ignorance of presenter, or his/her inability or unwillingness to challenge the commentator’s selective or wrong historic facts & events ) .
To thicken the fog hiding their escape route from answering this fundamental question ( which essential to full integration and removing identity confusion of young British Muslims) they would throw the ” western ” or ” British” foreign policy, French troops in Mali, Invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and use of drones in Yemen and against al-Qaida and the Taliban in remote mountains of northern Pakistan. This is a false argument and a folly that bears no relations to facts. Yet they are aided in this false argument by the British left and opportunistic politicians . You only need to listen to Ken Livingstone making ridiculous and idiotic link with War in Iraq ( obviously he wants to boost his credentials among labour lefties after London voters placed his career in the dustbin of history) or George Galloway playing to the gallery of radical Islamists (forming excellent propaganda machine that saves him a fortune to fund his constituency election campaign) .. Or the anti-American anti individual liberty lefties in general to see how much this myth about foreign policy link to justify terrorism is exploited.
This is an historic folly and factually inaccurate. If you trace back al-Qaeda and Islamists jihadist ideology in modern times, it all goes back to Egyptian jihadists like the partly American educated ideologue sayyed Qutob ( condemned to death by Egyptian court in 1964 after nine years of trials, appeals and retrials for terrorism, plotting to murder and incitement to murder ) who was a disciple of sheikh Hassan Albanna founder of the Muslim Brothers in 1928, w ( assisted and supported by British secret service to confront Egyptian nationalist movement demanding evacuation of British bases after WW1 and to contain a large trade union movement lead by communist Jews seen as harming British interests ) the Muslim Brothers was designed as an organisation to turn into be a worldwide movement with little respect for or recognition of national borders or the nation state. It was designed to replace the ottoman caliphate after Ataturk ended it (Ataturk is a hate figure among MB and Islamists). Instead of joining the nationalist movement in Egypt which was united on demanding evacuation of British military bases, the Muslim Brothers marched demanding veiling of women ( whom they harassed and attacked) , banning alcohol and closing down theatres. In the 1930s & 1940s (long before Israel was founded as an independent nation in 1948, America had not become a super power and was sympathetic to peoples’ aspirations in French and British Colonies) and the expression ” western foreign Policy ” was unheard of. During those years Muslim Brothers terrorised Egyptian public, exploded bombs in cinemas, theatres and bars, they burnet Cairo central area in January 1952 , and in 1940 assassinated judges who tried their murderous gangs. The ideology and practice of Muslim Brothers ( which had nothing to do with foreign policy) is the basis of today’s jihadists’ ideology and practice. Hence, it is false to make such a link.
Besides, it was al-Qaida who attacked America in 9/11 2001 not the other way round. Palestine at the time was not mention in al-Qaida’s literature nor by Bin laden or Dr Zwahir ( first mention linking 9/11 attack to Palestine was 16 months later). When Abu Hamza (Finsbury Park mosque hate preacher, now in jail deported to US) sent his own son and step-sons to Yemen to participate in tourist kidnapping and terror acts in the late 1990s there were no drones ” targeting Muslims ” in Yemen, nor were any British troops in Afghanistan or Iraq , on the contrary British troops at the time were among NATO or UN troops backing Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo.
Basic historic facts I would very much like British Muslim leaders to mention, to their followers and when they take to the airwaves in the wake of appalling murderous acts like what happened in Woolworth .
© copyright Adel Darwish 2013, not to be copied, quoted, lifted, reprinted or reproduced without the author’s permission