‘Thoughtful’ has castigated me for not understanding that the extremist hijackers of Birmingham schools are in fact just Muslims merely following their religion….I had thought that such a narrative had been the central theme of the oft repeated posts on this site that examined and disputed the BBC’s , and the ‘Establishment’s’, own interpretation of Islam, that it is the ‘religion of peace’, that those who follow a fundamentalist belief in Islam are distorting or perverting it, and all the time happily ignoring the conflicting values of ‘everyday’, allegedly moderate Islam with those of a democratic, secular, progressive society.
How many times have I quoted Mark Steyn saying that the problem with the ‘extremists’ is not that they are extreme but that they are following the divine directives of their religion?….that’s why they are ‘fundamentalists’…they adhere to the fundamental laws.
Failure to distinguish adequately between Islam and Islamism, and between Islamists and ordinary Muslims, has important consequences. It plays into the hands of Islamists by accepting their own narrative that their politicised understanding of Islam represents the “true” Islam. It can also lead non-Muslims to assume that all Muslims harbour – perhaps secretly – the totalitarian aspirations of Islamism.
Steyn, and ‘Thoughtful’, are of course correct about ‘extremists’ and the above attitude is wrong….Islam is political and always has been…’Islamism’ wasn’t invented by Tariq Ramadan’s grandpa in the ’30’s, a response to Western colonialism, as we are so often told, it was invented by Mohammed 1400 years ago.
The surprising fact is the BBC has now started to raise the question of that conflict of values, the ‘clash of cultures’ that has long been denied.
Seven years ago, the future Education Secretary Michael Gove wrote that “there is something rather un-British about seeking to define Britishness“.
He argued that Britishness was something best demonstrated through action rather than described in abstract terms.
And that’s why the state of a small number of predominantly Muslim schools in Birmingham, and how the government and other bodies propose to change them, may turn out to be one of the defining moments in modern multicultural Britain.
An example of that change in direction is one taken by the BBC itself perhaps. On the Today programme last Saturday (08:33) the über Liberal Justin Webb rather astounded me by raising the question of cultural values (08:36:50) and asks where do you draw the line when deciding when ‘cultural conservatism’ is to be considered ‘extreme’…in other words when does ‘meeting the needs of Muslims’ start becoming toleration of extreme religious views…extreme in relation to British values, culture and law.
Labour’s Tristram Hunt stated clearly that Islamic education was not acceptable in British schools. Webb said it was a minefield…one the BBC has long avoided I might add.
The problem with Islam is that there is no separation of church and state or indeed of any sphere of personal life…there is no line to draw….a Muslim therefore always looks to try and reshape the world to fit in with his beliefs…whether it is in schools, food or the work place or indeed foreign policy…..and hence will always be in some level of conflict with the non-believer.
Hopefully the attitude to discussing Islam is changing in the UK and a discussion about ‘Islam’ and whether it is compatible or not with Western secular, democratic values can begin without the attempts to avoid the difficult questions and the resultant answers and the usual denouncements of anyone who criticises Islam as racist and islamophobic.
The discussion is important and urgent…..can a social democratic Europe survive a mass population transformation as Muslims migrate here in increasing numbers and assume political power?
Steyn says if you want immigrants to integrate you have to have something to assimilate to…British culture has to be sufficiently confident to impose itself, to believe in itself…but how do you do that as a population has a rising number of Muslims who may not want to conform to the norm?
“A big chunk of Western civilization, consciously or otherwise, has given the impression that it’s dying to surrender to somebody, anybody. Reasonably enough, Islam figures: Hey, why not us?”
Norman Tebbit agrees with the BBC assertion that the Trojan Horse affair maybe ‘one of the defining moments in modern multicultural Britain’…saying the ‘elephant of multiculturalism is out of its corner.’
Tebbit makes some powerful and uncomfortable, for some, comments about immigration and the likelihood of rival societies, ‘mini-Pakistans’, being established in the UK:
The unmannerly squabble between Theresa May and Micheal Gove is bad enough in itself, but it has now brought the elephant of multiculturalism out of the corner and on to centre stage.
No one should have been surprised at what was going on in schools in Birmingham. It is precisely what I was talking about over 20 years ago and Enoch Powell was warning against long before that. We have imported far too many immigrants who have come here not to live in our society, but to replicate here the society of their homelands.
This is not a tirade against migration from the EU, which we are largely unable to control, but from the rest of the world, which we could have controlled if we had had the will to do so. However, even if suddenly the inward flow of those unwilling to adapt their society to ours were to be entirely cut off, it might already be too late to prevent the establishment of enclaves in which our values are treated with contempt, while foreign values and even laws are promoted.
It is certainly true that nature abhors a vacuum and with the decline of Christianity leaving the structure of our values system with no foundation there is now a great emptiness in our society. The doctrine of multiculturalism is a nonsense. A society is defined by its culture, and rival cultures are bound to create rival societies within the same territory. That is what has now been forced into public view in Birmingham.
Of course a tolerant dominant culture has no problem in tolerating minority groups. Neither Judaism nor Buddhism are a threat to Christianity in Britain, but if our society loses confidence in its value system, it will not long remain dominant.
For all the shouting and finger-pointing at Westminster, particularly that from the Labour Party – which bears responsibility for destabilising British society by its policy of unlimited, unrestricted, uncounted immigration fanned by unlimited welfare spending – I do not see any evidence yet that the scale of the problem is recognised, let alone that there is a realistic plan to deal with it
And what would be my advice? Well I feel like the Irishman asked by a stranger the best way to Dublin: “I wouldn’t start from here if I were you.”