He quotes a former MI6 agent, Alastair Crooke:
Crooke's point seemed to be that we in the West could learn a lot from Islamism, since it was, in some ways, morally superior to our fly-blown, materialist, individualist societies. Islamism, as practised by Hezbollah, Hamas and President Ahmadinejad, was saying something profound “about the essence of man”. He went on: “It is not just about violence or a whimsical reaction to modernity, it is a new way of seeing our existence...” Islamists wanted “a society based on compassion and justice”.
As Aaronovitch says "Then a piece of apologia that would have impressed any old Communist: “There are many mistakes... the Iranians would admit this isn't the finished article.”"
Meanwhile, former Islamist Ed Husain is concerned that mosques in the UK are run by first generation migrants:
Britain's mosques are run by men who are physically in Britain, but psychologically in Pakistan. They retain their village rituals and sectarianism, and prevent the growth of an indigenous British Islam. And for as long as young Muslims are confused about whether they belong in Britain or elsewhere, we risk handing them over to preying extremists in our midst.
Meanwhile those training to be imams and elders are overwhelmingly in seminaries that are Islamist in outlook:
Of the 27 or so Muslim seminaries or dar ul uloom in Britain, 25 come from the austere, Deobandi tradition - the preferred school of the Taleban. So while British soldiers risk their lives in Afghanistan, in British Muslim seminaries we allow the teaching of intolerance, unequal treatment of women, religious rigidity, the banning of music and theatre, and an end to free mixing of the sexes.
So how less than dominant is moderate Islam then? Husain is concerned that UK mosques and government ignorance about them is providing an environment to foster Islamist bigotry.
The Daily Telegraph reported in the weekend that some Muslim schools in the UK teach kids to never befriend Christians and Jews, and ban music, chess and cricket.
Check out this school:
Al-Mu'min Primary School in Bradford is linked to the al-Mu'min journal, which carries material from schoolchildren. Its website teaches that Western culture is "evil", photographs are "an evil practice of the unbelievers", and that "the person who plays chess is like one who dips his hand in the blood of a swine".
But here's a sample of the Ofsted report: "Al-Mumin Primary School provides a good education for its pupils and ensures that they have good attitudes and a very good work ethic... The provision made for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils is outstanding."According to the local Telegraph and Argus paper in Bradford, the links have been taken down, but the school did not respond to queries. The al-Mu'min website is also down.
Of course, I firmly believe private schools can do as they wish, as long as they receive no funding or privileges from the state, but if they are fomenting treason, and promoting bigotry, shouldn't it be transparent? Shouldn't they be subject to scrutiny? After all, if the BNP wanted to set up schools that taught not to associate with non-whites, and promoted an ideology of cultural superiority (and denigration of others), you think that would be tolerated for one moment?