Thursday, February 15, 2007

'Struggle for the soul of British Islam'

The Times has a must-read column by Dean Godson on Islam's culture of victimhood in Britain. The net-net of it all is that the majority of British Muslims are growing sick and tired of the same handful of Muslim community "spokespersons" claiming to represent them.
The “anger” of some Muslim community “representatives” with the Independent Police Complaints Commission — after its “whitewash” of the Met’s conduct during the Forest Gate raid — deserves to be taken with one big pinch of salt. The terms of trade are slowly shifting against their brand of victim culture. And, deep down, they know it.

[ ... ]

The same sort of characters also peddled a narrative of a “community under siege” after the recent Birmingham raids. But for all the talk of an imminent explosion, there was no riot in Brum — or Forest Gate.

Birmingham will prove politically more significant in the long term. Since then, more and more British Muslims have piped up effectively to proclaim “not in my name”. They are fed up with the atmosphere of oppression and extremism in their neighbourhoods; as far as they are concerned, the main threat to Muslims are, well, other Muslims. And they believe that their “leaders” have done far too little to fight this.

Mohammed Naseem, the “moderate” chairman of the Birmingham Central mosque, personifies the problem. He attracted much attention recently when he opined that Britain is starting to resemble a Nazi state. Everyone pays court to him as a “community leader”. Yet whom does Dr Naseem actually represent? He ran as the Respect candidate for Birmingham Perry Barr in the 2005 election, against the impeccably nonsectarian Labour incumbent Khalid Mahmood. He won a mere 5.7 per cent of votes — compared with Mr Mahmood’s 47 per cent. Enough said?

In what way is Dr Naseem “moderate”? In comparison to troublemaking local factions such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir, he no doubt is. But there is very little in Dr Nazeem’s world view that divides him from the extremists. Like them, he propagates the myth of Muslim victimhood. He told Panorama after 9/11 that “in our mind, we are not convinced that those people who perpetrated these actions were actually Muslims”. He said similar things about the 7/7 bombers, much as he condemned that atrocity.

Dr Naseem can denounce 7/7 until el Andalus becomes Muslim again, but the fact remains that he caters to the sense of oppression that fuels jihadi violence. David Cameron rightly gave him short shrift when he visited the Birmingham Central mosque a few days after the police raids. The Government is no less contemptuous. Indeed, it was noted at the highest levels that the response of the Muslim Council of Britain to Dr Naseem’s enormities was a deafening silence.
Read it all.

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