Posted by: secretperson | September 2, 2008

We Must Stand Up to Islamic Extremism

I am sure you all remember Channel 4’s Undercover Mosque documentary which caused such contorversy last year. Having passed on footage of preachers doing what the producers believed was inciting hatred to police, the tables were turned. Police instead wanted to prosecute Channel 4 for undertaking the investigation, and having failed to collect enough evidence to prosecute, complained to Ofcom. Ofcom found no grounds for complaint and Channel 4 and the programme makers later succesfully sued West Midland’s Police.

Last night, Channel 4 showed Undercover Mosque: The Return. It showed that little had changed, and there was still, if you look for it, plenty of extremist preaching out there. Women were preached too, and told not to travel without their husband or to work in a job with men present. The reporter, claiming to have friends setting up a mosque and school was given extremist teaching materials. These insulted Jews and Christians and encouraged segregation.

Now I know it would be wrong to extrapolate this to believe the worst of all Muslims. But there is undoubtably a huge amount of extremism in Islam in Britain and it is scary. While I have never respected extreme religious nutters, as an atheist it seemed more logical to believe in a religion fully than to pick and choose pieces. But it seems even fundamentalists do that, it is not literalist as I might have thought. Islamic scholars on the programme were shown a Saudi translation of the Koran which had footnotes explaining away certain verses and interpreting others in non-standard ways to push the Wahhabi ideology.

Wahabism is the extreme Saudi interpretation of Islam, and is heavily promoted by the Saudi authorities. They deny the existence of a ‘Saudi religious establishment’ but the Undercover Mosque programme exposed many links and billions of pounds spent worldwide establishing mosques and schools and supplying literature.

So what can we do? I think one thing we can do is to be confident and sure of our own beliefs. David Milliband and Gordon Brown have been pushing (belatedly) for the EU to punish Russia for the recent Georgia crisis, despite Russia supplying us with much gas. Perhaps they could take a hardline approach to Saudi Arabia, who we deal with as an oil producer and Middle Eastern military supporter, to stop their support for Wahhabi Islam in this country.

Maybe our MPs could stand up to forced marriage, as they are criticised today for worrying about losing Muslim votes if they do. I suspect it is political correctness that makes them uncomfortable about ‘insulting’ other cultures rather than pure vote worries. In the online Telegraph news section that story sits exactly below one describing how five Pakistani women were buried alive for wanting to choose their husbands. Surely a shocking enough warning of the dangers of these insane cultural practices (they are not religiously supported, though would be equally wrong even if they were).

One of the copies of the extreme literature shown made it clear that Muslims should not live amongst the Kuffur (that’s us!) and even suggested they move to a Muslim country to avoid non-believers. Other works suggested the whole world should be converted. We should have the confidence to say that if you believe in such an extreme interpretation that you cannot live in a non-Muslim country, then you had better move to Saudi Arabia, or another Muslim state, because as far as I am concerned England is not and never will be an Islamic country.

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