There is an old Bedouin saying that once the camel gets his nose in the tent the body will surely follow.
Sunday Morning Live which asked ‘Are Muslims doing enough to stop the radicalisation of young people?’, was I think pretty groundbreaking for the BBC, at least I have never heard anything quite so open, raising so many contentious and taboo issues.
There were quite a few guests, nearly all Muslim, and there was pretty much a consensus of opinion, Yvonne Ridley aside, on most points.
One issue was that debate is being closed down by conservative Muslims…we all know that as soon as ‘Muslim issues‘ are raised the cry of ‘Islamophobia’ echoes across the Media…they want us to stop talking about Islam.
Which made me laugh because I’d already seen Mehdi Hasan’s response when he heard the question that the programme asked:
Such people want to close down debate because they know where the debate might lead…and this one on SML proves the point and why, as Peter Hitchens said on the programme, we must stop talking of ‘Islamophobia’ because there is no such thing, it is perfectly legitimate to disagree with what is a political ideology and not a pathology.
And as for Mehdi Hasan, that rabid self publicist and reactionary Islamist…just why does the BBC keep giving him a platform for his rhetoric?….I know the fireworks are fun, Question Time a case in point, but when there are Muslims like Dr Muhammed al Hussaini available, who presents a grown-ups view of the world, why have the ones who throw their dummies out of the pram and present an extremely unlikeable impression of Islam?
The programme blew apart the BBC’s own narrative when it comes to reporting on Islamic terrorism and presenting programmes about Islam…..which is that the terror is a result of Western foreign policy, that the terrorists are not real Muslims, that we cannot talk about the Koran and its meaning, that Islam is a religion of peace, that the majority of Muslims are not ‘conservative’ verging on fundamental, and that someone with a brown skin cannot be racist.
Here are some of the radical, and usually forbidden thoughts, from the contributors to the programme:
A core teaching of Islam is that you must give your life for God….Martyrdom.
There is the slow growth of the idea amongst conservative Muslims that you cannot be part of this society, that their allegiance should be to the Umma, the Caliphate.
I have multiple identities, just one of those is being Muslim.
There is a growing political correctness that won’t allow discussion of Islam and what the Koran means….we are not a living in a brutal desert society with tribal blood feuds.
We must promote intellectual freedom and debate about core theology.
The behaviour stemming from the teachings in religious texts (Bible included) is deeply disturbing…promoting violence and genocide.
Mosques and those who run them can be racist, run as cultural clubs that excludes Western or white converts.
The MCB is extremist and unrepresentative with only 6% of Muslims saying they felt represented by them.
Communal tension is driven by the doctrines in the Koran itself.
It’s a very clever trick to claim someone who commits some crime isn’t a real Muslim just because they do something bad….this disengages with the problem…and doesn’t allow debate and a solution to the behaviour.
Stop talking of Islamophobia, there is no such thing, it is perfectly legitimate to disagree with what is a political ideology and not a pathology.
And finally the solution maybe, they say…..
To challenge the narrative.
Something we have been arguing for on this site for a long time from the BBC…..recognise that Islam can promote violence, that groups like the MCB are extremist and unrepresentative, that claiming any Muslim terrorist is not really a Muslim isn’t any longer credible, that the Koran can drive intolerance and separation between communities…and finally to examine the Koran itself and its true meaning, good and bad….just as they do with the Bible and Christianity.
Whether the outcome of the programme was as intended by the BBC or came as a bit of a shock to them it was a good programme with some very honest contributions.
The camel has his nose in the tent then…..The question is will anyone at the BBC take any notice…and then act upon such valid and challenging arguments and assertions?
Let’s hope the Bedouin were right….but in this case probably not.