Muslims have to deal with the terror threat, but not in the way the prime minister thinks
It’s not a call anyone takes lightly. The leader of your country issues a call to arms to defend it from those bent on death and destruction. This is exactly what Tony Blair has done since the July bombings, repeating his plea for Muslims to wipe out terrorism again this week.
He was curiously short on detail though. He made it sound like there are potential confrontations we could have on every street corner with would-be assassins, but anyone can see this is preposterous. The government have wideranging powers to arrest terrorists, and presumably there are not a lot wandering the streets we know about. Maybe the recommendations made by the Muslim taskforce that Blair himself put together last year can provide answers. Alas, they have been ignored.
It is odd in today’s age, where individual freedom abounds, to the point where society is said not to exist anymore, that a whole community can still be brought to book for the actions of a mindless few. But still, let’s take on the PM’s challenge. Since the bombings last year, the situation of the Muslim community has been examined to the nth degree. Scrutiny has fallen on our beliefs, personalities, institutions, languages, foods, and clothes. There’s even been analysis of the sexual positions Muslims adopt and how this contributes to terror.
A lot of the themes discussed are interesting debates about Islam and Muslims but have precious little to actually do with terror. Some want to debate theology and the position of the Qur’an and scholars in Islamic tradition. This is principally led by those with the agenda of undermining both pillars before even 9/11 and 7/7, but as everyone acknowledges, Islam and all mainstream scholars forbid the killing of civilians. Others take up the issue of integration. But even if you were living a proxy life in this country with your head and heart in Pakistan, you are still not carrying around values that cause harm to your neighbours.
The government has floated proposals ranging from banning organisations, closing mosques, banning scholars, and outlawing indirect incitement to terror. They got to the detail of labelling us as “Asian-British” as a solution. They managed to get into such nitty gritty, and in dismissing any foreign policy link, presumably think this is more important than Iraq and Palestine as factors.
Anyone that looks into these foreign policy matters is accused of justifying the bombers (despite the security services establishing this link - 1, 2). But blame it on any of the others above and that’s fine. However, in any crime committed we look to cause – it’s called motive. A father may take revenge on the rapist of his daughter. Cause and explanation, but not justification. A brutal murder could be explained by the insanity or the killer, but not justified or called a good thing. It would also be fair to say without that cause, the crime wouldn’t have happened.
Blair’s attack on the Muslim community increases the cloud of suspicion around us. Numerous polls have been conducted on the attitudes of the general population toward Muslims and vice versa. Things are getting worse and the tinderbox situation we live in is obviously not helping. Many non-Muslims join Blair, ever the populist, in complaining they don’t hear enough condemnation and leadership from the likes of me. Well here goes.
The Pew Global Attitudes Project last week found a considerable number of Muslims believing in conspiracy theories regarding both 9/11 and 7/7. My comment on this to my brothers and sisters is to eschew these thoughts. True or false, more the fool us. If there is a far-flung conspiracy lurking beneath it all by shadowing figures, and Muslims didn't do it, then how weak and powerless are we to allow this to be perpetrated on us?
We need to deal with the cards as they have been stacked. There is an enormous amount of work to do. Our mass, not just isolated pockets, need to start engaging with society in a sophisticated manner. Get educated, be successful, contribute to the arts, media, business, law, and the political process. Then, and then only, we may be able to influence foreign policy and stop all this nonsense.