Boosting citizenship among Muslims will help tackle extremism

…. Yet we must not confuse the extremist violence of a tiny minority with the teachings of a great faith and the values of a peaceful majority. We must not allow these events to cause the division and fear that can further feed the dangerous narrative of religious conflict. Democratic participation and a vibrant public life, in which all can participate, are our strongest defences against this very real danger.

It is this desire to see civil society remain a strong and united force within the UK that has encouraged me to chair Citizens UK Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life. [Dominic Grieve]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 56 votes] This article, like so many before it, seems to completely miss the key points.

The people who are committing (or planning to commit) the terror atrocities that blight the lives of people in the UK (and around the world) are not purporting to be Muslims, they are Muslims.

Just like many before it, the article goes on to say that the actions of these terrorists are condemned by the wider Muslim community but I don`t see or hear this happening.

Where are the mass protests by the Muslim community condemning what are is being done in their name? We see and hear the protests and anger when Muslims believe someone has insulted their religion or their Prophet but on this issue of terror attacks, nothing.

The article refers to “that many of the overwhelming majority of British Muslims, who condemn the actions of groups such as Islamic State, fear speaking out and taking public action because they believe that whatever they do or say will always be misrepresented”

Given the Muslim community’s readiness to protest vociferously on many other issues, I find this difficult to accept.

The article asks why there is a void of participation in public life from the Muslim community and goes on to refer to the commission making recommendations and a timetable of implementation, it also indicates that some of the recommendations may require direct action by the Government.

I cannot be the only person who is tired of the rest of the community having to constantly fit itself around one small part that somehow sees itself as deserving of special treatment and which shows no inclination to proactively engage

[2ND 53] The inevitable conclusion will be that British public life should be more Islamic to make Muslims feel at home. How about changing the weather and asking Muslims to be less Islamic in order to feel at home? Why should the rest of us change? There should be a caveat emptor for people who move here.

[3RD 44] Islam divides the world into one that is populated by believers and the other by non-believers. Folks, usually left-liberals, who are disgusted by “othering” should take note.

Believers must submit to the notion that Mohammed is the perfect man and the Koran is the word of God (and thus infallible). Accordingly, the harshest penalty is reserved for apostasy and blasphemy.

Refer to polls on favoring death penalty for apostasy – Indonesia (18%), Bangladesh (44%), Malaysia (66%) – and these are the “moderate” countries. In Britain, 40% muslims have declared support for Sharia.

Better yet, ask the opinion of an ex-Muslim in the UK. Typical experience: shamed and shunned by the community and living in fear of their lives. How is this permissible in 21st century UK?

Thousands of muslims marched to restore the honor of the Prophet (damaged by a few cartoons) but no marches so far in support of Charlie Hebdo (or for that matter Salman Rushdie 30 years back). Why is tolerating intolerance acceptable?

[4TH 43] The lack of Muslim participation is easily explained. (And the lack of those wanting Muslims to participate).

There is simply no other religion on earth that draws such sharp distinction between its own members and others, or whose holiest text devotes as much time toward condemning and dehumanizing those who merely choose not to follow its dogma.

The problem will continue until Muslims themselves put this right.

[5TH 42] It’s time to get much more selective and cautious about who is allowed to be a citizen, regardless of who is offended/hurt by these actions. There will always be those who want to exploit the benefits of living in a developed western country whilst simultaneously hating what it stands for and the freedoms it provides.

I am the son of a Syrian man (non religious) and I know how hard he worked to fit in when he moved to the UK, even taking up British past times and changing his first name so as not to stand out. He simply had no interest in fighting the native culture or standing out, and wanted to progress in his career without an Arabic name holding him back.

Whenever I visit the UK I’m shocked at how it has changed in the last 20 years. I see more women in the Niqab in Brum than in central Istanbul where I live. That is not an exaggeration.

[6TH 40] Sorry but the extremists are just adhereing to the holy text that is central to their religion. If you accept, like muslims do, that the Qur’an is the literal word of god, there is little scope for boosting citizenship or tackling extemism.

[7TH 38] “Yet we must not confuse the extremist violence of a tiny minority with the teachings of a great faith and the values of a peaceful majority.”

There is no confusion. The jihadis that commit acts of extreme violence on a daily basis are following a perfectly plausible reading of their doctrine and example of the Prophet. They clearly justify their actions with reference to their faith. It’s counter productive to pretend this is not the case and it is only by facing the truth that we can start to address the problem.

[8TH 35] Grieve writes: “Yet we must not confuse the extremist violence of a tiny minority with the teachings of a great faith and the values of a peaceful majority.”

Douglas Murray has some interesting thoughts. He notes that

“In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London…”

Now here’s the really interesting bit. Murray continues

“All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie.

Why do they lie?

“The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake.”

Murray’s musings make me wonder whether Grieve actually believes what he writes.

[9TH 34] “We need to understand why there is a void of participation in public life from the Muslim community”

This is obvious – Islam is not adaptable or flexible enough to fit in with the direction a modern Britain will travel

“…and why it is a growing issue”

This is also obvious – the population of British people that believe in the Islamic faith is growing. So, see point above

“…and we need to understand the impact of this on wider civil society.”

The not so modern Britain will also continuously ask, ‘why’ should they worry about understanding what an incompatible religious belief should be given any consideration.

[10TH 34] “Yet we must not confuse the extremist violence of a tiny minority with the teachings of a great faith and the values of a peaceful majority.”

And yet an Al Jazeera Arabic poll put support for Islamic State at 81%.

[Guardian Cif] Read more

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