So I’ve been thinking about this a lot and posted this morning on twitter about David Cameron’s comment (“they are monsters, not Muslims”). I’m very concerned by growing reprise that “Islamic State” (IS) is not Islam, that they are not Muslims. I can understand where it’s coming from but its a very dangerous form of political correctness. Clearly not all Muslims support IS, nor are all terrorists Muslim. But there is no doubt that IS say they are acting on behalf of Islam, they are Muslims and they want to establish an Islamic Caliphate.
If you detach their monstrous ideology from what we like to think of as Islam, then do you detach from the Muslim community responsibility for denouncing it? I have no problem if moderate Muslims — as some have done (albeit late in the day) — stand up and say that IS does not represent what they believe to be Islam. I similarly say that Naturei Karta, the “ultra-Orthodox” anti Zionist Jews — who by the way simply throw words, not stones, not swords and are nonviolent — do not represent Judaism in any form that I know. But I want the moderates to stand up and say it.
More importantly, do you, by saying IS is not Islam, they’re not Muslims, detach from the Muslim community at large the responsibility for helping prevent radicalisation which we know full well goes on in certain mosques and on campuses? (It is astonishing how many campuses world wide have HUGE investment from Saudi and Qatar and huge investment in BDS, anti Israel, and radicalisation programmes.)
I am not blaming any particular Muslim community but just as I hung my head in shame when extremist Jews murdered that poor young man in Jerusalem after the death of the three Jewish teenagers, so the Muslim community worldwide must say, not that IS is an Israeli / CIA conspiracy (as Iran currently claiming) but that something is rotten within the Muslim world and it must be stopped.
There are Middle East and other Muslim societies, particularly Iran, bringing up their children on a relentless feast of hate — against Jews, against the US, against the West. There has also been dreadful oppression of Sunnis by Shias in Iraq, of Shias by Sunnis in Iraq (depends which year and who’s in charge) and all over the ME, Iran and Pakistan etc. IS, a radical Sunni movement, has grown out of those struggles and has been strongly funded by Qatar (they would claim not but even if not directly, certainly indirectly and they directly fund Hamas, another murderous Sunni regime). But we must wonder why so many well educated EU-born men AND women are flocking to take part in the barbaric IS regime. It is a shame for the whole of British society that some of the absolutely worst offenders (“Jihadi John”, the women in charge of the sex slaves) are British Muslims who have turned their backs on their homes and gone to Iraq. Some might just be hot headed young people looking for an ideology. But some have been indoctrinated and that must stop, now.
We need interfaith discussions; we need to avoid the vile rhetoric that appeared everywhere, instantly, over the Israel Gaza conflict. The rhetoric which painted the problems in black and white, condeming Israel without contemplating the impact, the propaganda and the lies that Hamas were feeding the West and that were so willingly believed (and spread by the media which apparently Jews control — if we do, we do it very badly!). We need to open our eyes to how the hate is poisoning the youth of our land.
We have to consider the anti-Semitism (and sorry that’s what it is) that led to the huge disparity (disproportion to use an emotive term) in the speed, ferocity and extent of the response to the Israel Gaza conflict compared with, for instance, how many months it took anyone to notice and even quietly protest that Assad was slaughtering hundreds and hundreds of civilians (nearly 300,000 dead in three years in the conflict, many many civilians including thousands of children but none of the emotive hour by hour accounts we had over Gaza); that IS was truly ethnically cleansing Mosul of Christians, was waging a genocide (still is) against the Yazidis, was systematically raping women and children as a punishment (there has never been a single case of rape by an IDF soldier — not something to celebrate but notable in modern warfare).
Why were so few people raging over these mass slaughters and war crimes and yet out on the streets in minutes over Israel defending itself against 100s of rockets raining down aimed at civilians.
My take was that it was fuelled fundamentally by anti-Semitism (the singling out of a particular state etc) but also importantly there is no sanction for criticising Israel (and Jews). However, Muslims don’t/won’t criticise Muslims and others are afraid of doing so. I realise that’s a generalisation and some, such as the Quiliam Foundation are doing wonderful work in this area. But you only have to look at how slow the UN (with one member one vote, and just one Jewish state but 50+ Muslim states) has been to denounce Syria and even ISIS, yet has criticism of Israel as a standing agenda item.
Muslims who support democracy, who reject a Caliphate, who reject the barbarism of IS now need to speak up. In Britain and the EU and all Western liberal democracies, we cannot have increasing ghettoisation, we cannot have areas run by Sharia law where police turn a blind eye to abuse of women and children, and we have to say, this is Britain and the law is British. We have to have mutual respect for all faiths and people of all faiths have to abide by the laws of the land.
I have not set out to offend with this post and I am trying to read it as if everything I’ve said about Muslims mentioned Jews instead (a la the terrible piece by Matthew Parris in The Times a few weeks ago). But we do not solve the problem by pretending that fundamentalist Islam is not Islam and is not run by Muslims. As Edmund Burke so wisely said “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” I truly believe the Muslim communities in Britain (I can’t speak for the rest of the world) are now speaking out louder and more strongly — from my perspective they weren’t and there has been a reluctance to criticise bad Muslims in direct contrast to the willingness to denounce Israel at the drop of the hat.
At least with IS it is very clear, no one can blame Israel and in fact Israel is the front line for the West against IS. Thank God Israel is there. Not least, it’s proving a safe haven for UN troops running away from IS in Syria on the Golan border. We need to unite in our condemnation of Islamic terrorists whether ISIS, Hamas, Al quaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood – they all subvert democracy, fail to respect other faiths and are murderous in their methods; they may differ in the detail but not in the fundamental ideology. And that is what all of us, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Atheists need to speak out and act against else evil will triumph.