Extremist ‘hawks’ are utterly wrong to blame Islam for terrorism
THIS THINKING HAS LED TO MISGUIDED AND INTRUSIVE POLICIES.
The neocon rhetoric about terrorism and extremism in the aftermath of
the Crevice trial might seem straightforward to some. They argue that
there is something new and distinct about these plots – that they have
no political agenda other than destroying western civilisation. That is
why they targeted a shopping centre and a nightclub. We are told that
there is a political ideology of Islam – which talks of Shariah law and
a Caliphate – which is inherently violent. It seems impossible for them
to believe that one can support these political ideas and not endorse
violence against civilians.
Both past experience and recent evidence prove these views to be either ignorance or lies. The IRA bombed shopping centres and pubs. No one questioned whether the IRA found the freedom to shop abhorrent. No one suggested intervention in Catholic churches or Sunday school classes in order to stem the tide of Republican violence, because no link was found to churches or Sunday school. It was well understood that their violence, unjustifiable as it was, was about injustices in Northern Ireland as well as unification of the island of Ireland.
Yet this government has announced conclusive plans for the state regulation of mosques and after-school Qur'an classes, allowing it to intervene in personal religious practice in an unprecedented manner, though there is no proof of their systemic link with terrorism. It has labelled the institutions of the Muslim community as part of the problem, even though prominent personalities, Imams and groups within the Muslim community have said repeatedly and unequivocally that the killing of civilians on 7/7, in Madrid or 9/11 is unacceptable. This government interference into personal religious institutions will only serve to reinforce stereotypes and heighten suspicion, fear and alienation.
The recent evidence that proves the hawkish theories to be false came in the form of a major public opinion poll across four major Muslim countries conducted by www.worldpublicopinion.org . Its results show that in the four Muslim countries polled there is an overwhelming popular support [>70%] for Shariah and a caliphate, whilst at the same time a rejection of violence against civilians [no matter their location].
Some politicians and commentators use extremist rhetoric – first started by neocons but now even adopted by some opportunist Muslims – to justify their political agenda in the Middle East. The global war on terror has been justified by linking the caliphate with violence directed against civilians. Most Muslims see the caliphate as a pillar of the political ideology that will liberate the Muslim world from oppressive rulers and external exploitation. The demonisation of the political ideology that seeks to liberate the masses from colonial hegemony is now spearheaded by western governments who are keen to keep the existing totalitarian dictators in power, and threaten to pursue a never ended 'war on terror' to prevent what is the hope and prayer of the Muslim masses.
The government’s latest policies of interfering in Muslim community institutions are clearly not designed to address community relations. They are not even aimed at making Britain more secure. They are about engineering a placid compliant Muslim community. Those who support these policies only use issues such as the Crevice trial to justify their extreme call.