Tory MP shows ignorance of Islamism, wins support of Mad Mel

Melanie Phillips applauds the contribution of Paul Goodman, Tory MP for Wycombe, to the debate on the Queen’s Speech. It is easy to see why, because Goodman accepts the equation of “Islamism” with “Islamist extremism” and even “Islamist terrorism” which is common currency among Islamophobes like Mad Mel and Martin Bright, whose Policy Research pamphlet When Progressives Treat With Reactionaries Goodman recommends in his speech.

Goodman states: “Islamism divides not on the basis of class or of race, but on the basis of religion. To this politician, it has three significant features. First, it separates the inhabitants of the dar-al-Islam – the house of Islam – and the dar-al-Harb – the house of war – and, according to Islamist ideology, those two houses are necessarily in conflict. Secondly, it proclaims to Muslims that their political loyalty lies not with the country that they live in, but with the umma – that is, the worldwide community of Muslims. Thirdly, it aims to bring the dar-al-Islam under sharia law.”

Perhaps Goodman should check out some rather more informed and balanced studies of Islamism – for example, The Future of Political Islam by Graham E. Fuller, who writes:

“In my view an Islamist is one who believes that Islam as a body of faith has something important to say about how politics and society should be ordered in the contemporary Muslim World and who seeks to implement this idea in some fashion. The term ‘political Islam’ should be neutral in character, neither pejorative nor judgmental in itself; only upon further definition of the specific views, means and goals of an Islamist movement in each case can we be critical of the process. I prefer this definition because it is broad enough to capture the full spectum of Islamist expression that runs the gamut from radical to moderate, violent to peaceful, democratic to authoritarian, traditionalist to modernist.”