…. I see a tightrope along which we have to walk and keep walking. On the one side is an attempt to pretend that there is no problem. This suggests terrorism is less significant than road accidents, grooming gangs are made up of all sorts, jihadism is a product of poverty, discrimination or western foreign policy. Misogyny is less toxic if it speaks in a language you don’t understand.
On the other side is the creation of a way of thinking that casts an entire global religion and its billions of adherents as, a priori, adversaries; that says it is in the nature of the faith that Islam must be hostile to the rest of us, and we to it.
That would be grim because on current trends we can project a UK Muslim population of 5.5 million, or 8.2 per cent of the population, by 2030. And what kind of Islam will those millions espouse?
A common idea I’d call “Koran fatalism” holds fast among critics of Islam and echoes the arguments of the fundamentalists. It’s an insistence on the centrality of conservative orthodoxy, in much the same way as someone proclaiming papal infallibility and the Latin Mass to be essential features of Catholicism. The essence of the true Muslim faith is held to be scriptural literalism coupled with unarguable teachings on how to live, prescribed by various religious authorities in the aftermath of the death of the Prophet.
[TOP RATED COMMENT 254 votes] First, one cannot be “born Muslim”. Islam is a collection of man-made ideas. It is not a race or a nationality.
Second, there is no moderate version of the Koran. People interpret it the way they see fit. Currently, the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al Bahgdadi, interprets it literally. And he has a doctorate in Islamic Studies. You don’t.
Thirdly, I’d be more concerned by the fact that in 2017, people are tearing down statues of bad people who died 200 years ago, but merely lighting candles and urging understanding when bad people blow up teenage girls at a pop concert.
[2ND 235] Your optimism and aspirations are to be lauded. However, to coin a phrase, I believe that moderate Muslims are ‘p-ing in the wind’.
As part of the (failed) multi-culturalism experiment one section of society alone has been left to self-police and failed miserably. One religion alone is constantly shown to be intolerant of both its own adherents and former followers (never mind about non-believers). How many death threats has the apostate Aliyah Saleem received?
You have mentioned grooming gangs and so I will skip over that subject as it has been amply covered here on these comments pages. Simply answer why, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and as reported by the BBC, did the majority of Muslims surveyed sympathise with Al-Qaeda? Why have recent surveys shown that a majority would not report a suspected extremist to the police? Why do so many want to live here given the peaceful, tolerant and successful lives they have in their countries origin (and have no intention of integrating our infidel society)?
As a well relatively travelled person I can say that even now, nearly forty years on, Saudi Arabia remains the darkest place that I have ever been to.
I wish you good luck.
[3RD 200] I have two modern, liberal Muslim neighbours, or maybe I should call them “lapsed Muslims”, becaude they rarely if ever attend prayers at the local mosque, never fast during Ramadan and are not careful about checking if food is halal. Even so, they identify as Muslim because, they say, the religion is the basis of their identity. Loyalty to the religion and to other Muslims comes before loyalty to the nation.
The religion has a strong hold on them even if they are not practising Muslims. The world is divided for them into those who believe in Allah and those who don’t. They tolerate unbelievers rather than regarding them as equal. If this is the most moderate and modern version of Islam, it doesn’t give me much hope regarding integration.
[4TH 174] It seems that the author of this article has not read the Koran, nor the hadiths, and is ignorant of the life and character of Muhammed and also of-Sharia Law (eg that the penalty for apostasy from Islam is death, according to all four schools of Islamic law).
[5TH 165] I noticed that a march took place in Barcelona following the atrocity there. The march was organised to give “moderate” muslims a chance to show their revulsion at the terrorism perpetrated in the-name of Islam. Over two million muslims live in Spain. Fewer than one thousand took to the streets to represent “moderate” Islam. Is further comment needed?
[6TH 147] You are not so much short on theological specifics as entirely bereft of them!
I am certainly a core Koran fatalist and am terrified and horrified by the Suras of the Medina phase of the Koran – by example Sura Mohammed which advocates beheading and enslavement.
However I would be very interested to hear how “moderate” Islamic clerics can leave things out that are specified in the Koran when it specifically requires that it be taken as a whole – and that leaving things out and moving things around is how Christians betrayed God. The completeness and consistency is supposed to be evidence that it came from God. If you start saying that bits do not apply then you have just demolished the Koran.
There are a stack of quotes that directly combat your argument – for example “Allah will cause the infidel to turn his back” which can be taken as advocating misleading people, like yourself, .
Or perhaps you seek to advocate leaving the Koran and Mohammed out of Islam?!
Please make your case – or delegate to your moderate Cleric – at the moment it just looks like more PC fantasy as all too often it is the quietist jihadi Father who brings up the terrorist son.
[7TH 136] We are dealing with not just with-a religion but also a religion that, unlike any other, brings with it a political and social philosophy that-clearly contradict Western norms, legal tradition and values.
You don’t seem to register the enormity of the sex-discriminatory dress code which deprives women of the freedom available to men to dress in a way that they want.
As many people have observed, Islam has not had its Reformation and the Muslim world its Enlightenment – and there is no prospect of either.
Platitudes are not enough. We have to live together and find a humane practical way of doing so but that cannot mean passive acceptance of the unacceptable. [The Times (£)] Read more