Monday, November 05, 2007

Islam is NOT peace as long as Muslims do not fight Islamists

Today I saw an ad inside the tube that I thought was intriguing, it talked of a young woman police officer here in the UK who is a Muslim, and how she was committed to protecting British citizens and the country. All very well I thought, and the website link from it was this.
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So what is it all about?
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The website says the campaign has 5 goals:
1. Fight Islamophobia wherever it occurs (in other words bigotry against Muslims. Well fine, although if this means supporting campaigns to do violence to anyone critical or laughing at Islam, then count me out. Muslims should be able to live anywhere in peace not harassed because of their religion, but they also must respect the rights of others to free speech regarding their religion);
2. Create dialogue to ensure Muslim concerns are taken into account to ensure concerns about racism and social exclusion are understood and Muslim voices are always in mainstream media (in other words be a voice for Muslims in lobbying government, though I suspect the term "social exclusion" means seeking taxpayers' money);
3. Government to work for long and lasting peace in areas of conflict, helping eliminate injustices that fervent division and nurture violence (in other words, the Palestinian issue);
4. Be creative, so that our community understands the mainstream and what its community wants to hear (? spin doctoring ?);
5. To create friendships and a culture of understanding (fine!).
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It appears to be a British Muslim campaign to spread the view that Islam is a peaceful religion and that British Muslims do not want to fight the liberal secular democracy of the UK (which it effectively is) but work within it. Well it appears to, except that there is virtually nothing on the website that gives any support for pluralist Western liberal secular democracy at all.
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The website has a lot of video which gives a positive view of "Muslims in your neighbourhood", and includes a section on Islam. None of that is wrong in itself, and not for a minute would I imply British Muslims are predominantly inclined towards terrorism. It's a reasonably clever site, lots of women and girls as well, no doubt designed to dispel views that Muslims are misogynistic and discriminatory.
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Unfortunately, it fails here. It makes it clear that Islam explicitly discriminates against women as they are required to cover more than men, because, of course, women who don’t cover are inciting rape aren’t they? Of course people should wear whatever they choose, if Muslims choose to cover up that’s their choice.
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There is the section on marriage which is also curious. The website says “It is generally recommended that prospective husband and wife meet prior to marriage; although some couples choose not to, leaving it to the judgement of their families.” Generally recommended! Then we have more sexism with allowing men to have multiple wives but not vice versa. Wonder why? After all if men and women are equal, or are men more equal than women?
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Women of course are seen as being very special "The woman’s priority lies in being a good mother” well that’s clear but to make it clearer “The decision to work is hers if she chooses but she will not be disrespected if she decides to concentrate on her primary role as a mother.” I wonder if the converse is true.
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Don't ask about homosexuals though - they don't exist.
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However this site isn’t about women, where it helps to re-emphasise the underlying sexism of Islam, but about peace. So how IS it on peace?
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Well apparently non-Muslims should never be harmed, but interestingly only in the context of an Islamic state. Yes the “Islam is peace” website seems implicitly to support an Islamic state – you know, the type that means the state is not secular, not blind to religion and does not treat you as an individual with individual rights. The website says so here in the section on "misconceptions" responding to the claim that Islam is intolerant of other religions:
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“One who kills a non-Muslim person (under the guardianship of an Islamic state) will not even smell the fragrance of Paradise."
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So there you go, you’re ok “under the guardianship of an Islamic state”, not the British government. Not intolerant as long as Islam is the basis for all laws and government? I’m less than unimpressed, in fact the whole credibility of this website is severely dented by this and the next statement that "Whoever hurts a non-Muslim person (under the guardianship of an Islamic state), I am his adversary, and I shall be an adversary to him on the Day of Resurrection".
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You see this justifies bombings in London or New York or Spain or Bali. Peace???
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There is a small section responding to misconceptions about Muslim Fundamentalism. This exists of course, it is the basis for the Iranian constitution and government, the Taliban, Hamas, Hizbollah, Al Qaeda etc. It exists and it is evil. You might have thought that this website would condemn Muslims who use Islam to justify political violence or the imposition of Islamic laws on non-Muslims. No.
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In fact the site's credibility was further eroded. Instead of accepting that some Muslims, including the Taliban, the Iranian government and Hamas apply literal radical interpretations of Islam that incite violence and waging holy war and terrorism, and condemning this AS IT SHOULD HAVE! ... it says “Unfortunately, due to a twisted mixture of biased reporting in the media and the actions of some misguided Muslims, the word "Islam" has become almost synonymous with "terrorism".
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Hold on, the biased reporting? You can't mean the BBC which never uses the word "terrorist". However, is there denial that almost sole terrorist threat in the Western world today comes from Islamists?
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Some misguided Muslims”? Some in New York, London, Glasgow, Madrid, Bali, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Israel, Egypt, Algeria, Pakistan, India? Is there denial that most terrorism in the world in the past few years has been carried out by Islamists? Is the use of quotation marks around “terrorism” implying that it is something else? What is "misguided" if it isn't a weasel word for evil?
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It goes on “However, when one analyses the situation, the question that should come to mind is: Do the teachings of Islam encourage terrorism? The answer: Certainly not! Islam totally forbids the terrorist acts that are carried out by some misguided people. Islam encourages peace, mercy and forgiveness. Killing innocent people totally contradicts the teachings of Islam.”
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To which I say “Stop telling me this! I'm not the problem, the problem is in people who hold YOUR religion and preach YOUR religion. Tell the Muslims who DO carry out terrorist acts, who DO aid and abet them, who DO cheer when they happen, who FUND it. Reject them, report them, fight them if you can - if you want to have respect of being a British Muslim. Otherwise you are part of the problem.
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And that’s the rub. You can tell non-Muslim Britons as much as you like about how you are good citizens and the like. You can try to sell how good your religion is, fine, there is free speech.
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BUT. If you want people to believe YOU believe in peace then maybe you need to do something more than tell those who fear Islamist terrorism. You need to fight those who are Islamist terrorists, you need to turn on them and their supporters, and their funders. It means opposing the murderous Iranian regime, which executes teenagers for having consensual sex, or punishes girls for claiming they have been raped. It means opposing the Taliban, which banned music, education for girls and was one of the most brutally repressive regimes on earth, and which providing shelter and succour for Osama Bin Laden. It means turning on those who hold your religion and use it against us all.
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Peace is not defined as being Islam, and Islam clearly is not peace for a sizeable number of Muslims. However, the majority of British Muslims are undoubtedly hard working peaceful residents who get on with their lives with little bother to others. If the point of the website is to point that out, then I think it goes without saying to most non-Muslim people here.
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Howevr, if Muslims in Britain want to really know what is wanted, it is a clear categorical rejection of any interest in seeking an Islamic state in Britain, and a rejection of terrorism, including admitting it IS an Islamic problem. It means turning on those within Islam in Britain who threaten violence against this country, and NOT wanting to overthrow the secular liberal democratic state.
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Quite simply if you want to live in Britain, then accept that it is a secular Western liberal democracy where individual rights are, by and large, protected. If you don't like that, then leave, and if you want to conspire to fight against it, or protect those who conspire to wage war against it - then you're no longer welcome, you're a criminal.
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Sadly this website not only doesn't do that, but appears to be in denial that there even is a problem called "Islamic Fundamentalism". I'm sure Muslims in Britain can do better than that.

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