Monday, October 16, 2006

Bad times to come

Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Head of the UK Muslim Parliament, says

We have to be wary of a new breed of McCarthyism. It is important to differentiate between Muslim extremists and those taking part in a valid debate, whether it be over foreign policy or veils.

The vast majority in any community are law-abiding and the government has to be careful to make sure they do not say anything that suggest the whole community is to blame.
He is right several times there. The suspicion of Muslims is widespread, the extremist agitators are comparatively few and a Muslim should be able to criticise goverment policy without being labelled a terrorist.

He goes on.
It needs to work with communities. There are a few hundred extremist Muslims that can be tackled, but if they are not then it is the fault of the government and not Muslims.
You might wonder why it is the fault of the government if the extremists are not "tackled". Is it that the police are not effective enough? Is it the fault of immigration policy and practice? If so, he wouldn't be alone in making the criticism. But no.
The very root of the problem that exists is social exclusion and until the government accepts their own responsibility, there is nothing anybody can do.

They have to to ensure everybody has a stake in society and that is a commitment only they can make. Here I feel is where Ruth Kelly has failed.

Extremism is linked with deprivation and our studies show Bangladeshi and Pakistani Muslims are the among the most deprived.

There has been a discussion on extremism and foreign policy, but that is a secondary factor in why there are Muslim extremists.

The main reason is because of the social deprivation and exclusion.
While it is true that Muslim achievement is well behind that of other ethnic groups, I find it difficult to see how that is the government's fault, especially as the same divide is seen in other European countries. How does a government ensure social inclusion? It is good to see that he demotes foreign policy to the second rank of causes, but surely he is managing to not see the camel in the room.

What is the role of Muslims in 'getting included'. Is it helpful to put Muslim loyalties always and everywhere above those to the society in which you live? Does he want us to believe that the terrorism that struck on July the 7th had nothing to do with Islam and was only about social exclusion? How have Muslims made their revulsion of such acts clear? As Mark Steyn puts it
How many Western Muslims have formed "Not In Our Name" groups and marched to protest the bombing of their fellow citizens in New York, Madrid and London? How many have joined "Islam Against Suicide Bombing" or banded together to force jihadist imams out of their mosques? How many are prepared to stand up and say that they didn't come to America or Europe to raise their children as Saudis?

Hello? Anyone out there?
(America Alone, pp 81-2)
I think there's a problem there.

There's also a problem here with us. It is we who told Muslims they could maintain all of their culture no matter how invidious it was to ours. It is we who raised the stick of victimisation so that they could take it and beat us with it. It is we who preached the creed that all failure is down to everyone else. It is we who maligned and belittled the achievements of our own culture and applauded when others learnt the tune and recited it back to us. It is we who allowed such absurdities as the Muslim Parliament (an historical ozymoron) to be erected here. If it is true that it is Muslims who must in the end fix Islam so that it is fit to be lived with, it is also true that we have quite a bit of fixing to do with ourselves.

This is going to get worse. We will pester and pick petty fault; they will complain and throw back in our face principles no Muslim society has ever created or lived by. Who can blame them? But if we don't start to stand up for the better half of ourselves, we will never get back the respect we have lost by displaying the worst.

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