The Enemy Within by Sayeeda Warsi review – a thrilling and satisfying polemic

Sayeeda Warsi’s father arrived in northern England from Pakistan with less than £3 in his pocket and built a £2m-a-year bed-manufacturing business. His daughter qualified as a lawyer and became the first Muslim woman to be a member of the cabinet.

Despite all this, she has been subjected to the insult of being perceived as “the enemy within”, and finds herself wondering whether the UK will still be a home for her grandchildren. It is this personal stake that gives her forthright and intelligent book its sense of urgency. By tackling the “Muslim problem” head on, Lady Warsi has added to her accomplishments the feat of speaking truth to power.

She argues that the 7/7 bombing became the basis of bad policy, extending pre-charge detention; terrorism in the name of Islam was treated differently from others forms of terrorism.

By replacing multiculturalism with British values as the yardstick by which Muslims were measured, the path was set for the present state of disengagement between government and community. “In an attempt to build a more cohesive and resilient society,” she laments, “we demanded that ‘the Muslims’ join what we believed we stood for rather than jointly charting a route to what we wanted to be”. [135 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 48 votes] I urge those that are interested to read Maryam Namazie’s review in the Evening Standard. Warsi – in her memoir- writes that Rushdie ought to have faced a criminal prosecution for his Satanic Verses. No mention of this in this blinkered review.

[2ND 39] “She cites figures to prove that after 9/11, only 0.5% of all terrorist deaths have occurred in western countries; the majority take place in Muslim countries. Muslim terrorists are mostly killing Muslims.”

Unfortunately this argument is lost on most Muslims, who blame all killings of Muslims around the world on the US.

[3RD 35] “It is as enjoyable to read about her devout, enlightened mother as about the pivotal points in her political career.”

Devout and enlightened, eh? How does that work?

[4TH 34] “…. most deaths from terrorism in the west are at the hands of killers with far-right, nationalist or supremacist ideologies.”

Demonstrably untrue since the late 90s.

For a more honest appraisal of Warsi’s apologia for Islamism, see here.

[5TH 32] Warsi is an apologist for the religious far right. Typically fawning Guardian piece which ignores her poisonous views on Rushdie.

[6TH= 29] “finds herself wondering whether the UK will still be a home for her grandchildren” Seems a little alarmist considering the Muslim community is about the fastest growing in Britain and one in 10 kids under 5 are in a Muslim family.

“To ensure that they know English” And there’s the crux of the matter. Too many imams in Britain are deobandi or wahabi, bring with them the values of Pakistan or Saudi Arabia. We need a home-grown British Islam for British Muslims, with home-grown British imams at ease with the social and moral norms of modern Britain.

[6TH= 29] Salman Rushdie, and a person’s approach to him and his work, remain the touchstones of this whole area.

In her book, by decrying the absence of a prosecution of Rushdie for blasphemy, Sayeeda Warsi states her position very clearly. [The Guardian] Read more

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