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Sunday 17 July 2005

Time to stop pussyfooting around Muslims

A STRIKING image from a grim week for news came on Thursday. Among the coverage of people standing silently at midday to remember the London dead was a shot from Nottingham of a row of hijab-wearing girls carrying banners saying 'Not In My Name'.

It's a start that some Muslims are publicly dissociating themselves from their religion's murderous fringe, but a few gestures by small groups and hand-wringing from moderate spokesmen are no more than a small step in what will be a long, long journey.

What was required was massive Muslim demonstrations throughout the country protesting about the evil committed in the name of Islam. But that is not yet the Muslim way. Indulged by myopic multiculturalists, all too many British Muslims are still averting their eyes and ears from what is being done by the wicked in their midst, blaming the actions of their terrorists on Iraq, Israel or the Crusades and through cowardice, ignorance or prejudice, refusing to face the fact that Islam has to be rescued from its fascists by its own believers.

The man in the British street has had it up to here over the past 10 days with well-meaning liberals bleating about the peace-loving nature of Islam.

Deputy assistant commissioner Brian Paddick won first prize with his bizarre statement that "Islam and terrorism don't go together". What's next, Brian? Irish republicanism and criminality are unrelated. Or, loyalism and drug-dealing are foreign concepts.

It's time for the truth. Yes, most religions have some dangerous fundamentalist adherents, but Islam has them in enormous numbers. Islamists make brutal rulers. Ask Nigerian Christians who are fleeing the states where Islamic law has been imposed, or Saudi Arabian women forbidden such basic freedoms as driving a car or voting, or the mother of Theo Van Gogh, who the other day listened in an Amsterdam court to her son's murderer explaining to her that he couldn't feel for her because she was "a non-believer".

No other serious world religion has a substantial membership that considers all those outside their sect as infidels worthy of death.

Our own republican fundamentalists can no longer successfully terrorise those outside their own community because nationalists have finally wised up. There is no longer what the world's biggest mass murderer, Mao Tse-tung, famously spoke of as the "sea in which guerrillas fighters must swim like fish". All that's left is a dirty little puddle - although we still need to keep a wary eye on those trying to turn on the tap.

Islamic terrorists, however, have an ocean. What should the British be doing to help drain it?

Stop pussyfooting, for a start. It's time British Muslims were told unequivocally that they have responsibilities as well as rights.

Instead of endlessly kowtowing to minority opinion (a law against incitement to religious hatred presently going through parliament will ban us from being rude about any religion - even Satanism), immigrants should be required to learn English, accept British values and salute the flag. If they don't want to do that, what are they doing here?

Like many Irish in places such as Kilburn, there are innumerable Pakistanis in British cities (who provided three of the London bombers) who feel an intense loyalty to their old country and none to the new. Congregated in 'little Pakistans' in major British cities, they have imported imams as well as spouses from home and have kept themselves to themselves. Even though many of that generation were hard-working and law-abiding, they often lacked clear values to hand to their children.

The second and third generations went to schools where no one taught them pride in British history and culture and attended mosques where services were conducted by rural Pakistani preachers who knew nothing of Western youth.

Contentious subjects were ignored and confused young men became prey to local Islamists promising them certainty, purpose, martyrdom and a Paradise with willing virgins; visits to Islamist websites or even Pakistani madrassas completed the radicalisation.

In an alarming poll last winter, 57 per cent of Muslims disapproved of the requirement for new citizens to swear allegiance to the crown, 22 per cent saw a significant contradiction between Islamic values and being a good British citizen and 11 per cent thought it acceptable for religious or political groups to use violence for political ends.

The only good news was that 69 per cent agreed that Muslims should inform on people connected with terrorism.

Amir Khan, the 18-year-old British boxer and Olympic silver medallist, last week expressed his disgust at the bombings, told the 'What was required were massive Muslim demonstrations throughout the country protesting about the evil committed in the name of Islam'

Muslim youth to whom he is a hero that he was proud of his Britishness as well as his Pakistan heritage and urged British Asians to help the police.

The message that you owe loyalty to your country, that terrorism is unequivocally wrong and that the London bombers were criminals, not martyrs, needs to be shouted loudly by Muslims from the mosque tops.

Ruth Dudley Edwards

© Ruth Dudley Edwards