“Those who will kill for an Islamist empire find grievances in anything and everything – a knighthood for Salman Rushdie, the existence of Israel and all the Arab governments that don’t follow their commands, Danish cartoons and girls who deserve to die because they dance around in London clubs like ‘slags’, as one wannabe bomber put it.”
Nick Cohen proudly announces his membership of the “it’s nothing to do with foreign policy” brigade. But then, as one of the foremost “left-wing” cheerleaders for the Iraq war, he would say that, wouldn’t he?
These Days I’m Proud to Be Called Intolerant
By Nick Cohen
Evening Standard, 4 July 2007
HISTORIANS looking back at today’s liberals are going to have to wrestle with a bewildering problem. How was it that people who declared themselves to be the epitome of Leftish virtue come to excuse religious fanatics of the far Right whose sexism, racism and homophobia represented everything they said they were against?
As Londoners again come to terms with fears of a massacre, it is an urgent riddle to solve, because if liberals won’t stand up for liberal values how are young British Muslims to be argued out of joining the jihadis?
Along with a small band of like-minded souls, I’ve been battering at the comforting notion that you can explain radical Islam as a natural reaction against British foreign policy. All right, we say, our leaders are not always wise or good. But to pretend that a global psychopathic movement inspired in equal measure by religious fanaticism and Nazi conspiracy theory is a rational response to Western provocation is to engage in wishful thinking on an epic scale.
I’m not sure we’ve got very far, but now we’re joined by voices that are harder to ignore. British Muslims, who have been through the Islamist far Right, are coming out the other side and shaming liberal opinion.
Writing in The Observer, Hassan Butt described how he and his fellow Islamists used to laugh whenever liberals proclaimed that the West was the sole cause of the terror. “By blaming the Government for our actions, those who pushed the ‘Blair’s bombs’ line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.”
Ed Husain started off in the East London Mosque, which is dominated by the Bengali sectarians of Jamaat-i-Islami, before heading off further into the wilds, and now agrees with Butt. He had a blackly comic confrontation with Ken Livingstone on Radio 4 in which our pseudo-Leftist Mayor refused to condemn his allies from the Muslim Brotherhood, Jamaat’s sister organisation.
I doubt he ever will, but there were encouraging signs in Blair’s last days that the Labour Government would stop treating a Muslim Council of Britain dominated by the Jamaat-i-Islami and Muslim Brotherhood sectarians Ed Husain has renounced, as the legitimate voice of British Islam. I hope that Gordon Brown sticks by this sensible policy and grasps the uncomfortable fact that our fears aren’t just produced by the undoubted grievances of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Those who will kill for an Islamist empire find grievances in anything and everything – a knighthood for Salman Rushdie, the existence of Israel and all the Arab governments that don’t follow their commands, Danish cartoons and girls who deserve to die because they dance around in London clubs like “slags”, as one wannabe bomber put it.
Brown can’t appease that rage and nor can anyone else. The grim truth is it has to be fought.