Recently, Baroness Warsi presented a speech to an audience at Leicester University. A speech, which according to sources was not cleared by Downing Street and does not appear on the Conservative Party Website.
No idea is immune to critical analysis or query, least of all her argument that Islamophobia has become ‘socially acceptable’ dinner-table topic of conversation. Islamophobia is a disingenuous and deliberately misleading term which implies that a fear of this backward, narrow and totalitarian belief system is somehow unjustified by those of us who have bothered to give it any real examination. Baroness Warsi made no mention of the Muslim demonstrations and marches in our streets, with banners denouncing our way of life, our troops and calling for the death of all non-believers (in other words anybody who is not a Muslim or those who dare to call it out for what it is). What she attempted was nothing short of anti-criticism propaganda aimed at cowing the proportion of the population who are no longer willing to accept anything at face-value. She did nothing but try to de-value critical thought.
It’s not just that she was selfish and thoughtless in the tone and content of her speech, but her whole attitude toward non-believers is little more than what she describes as Islamophobia under a different mask. She is even on record of elevating those of the religious persuasion as morally and altruistically superior back in September during the Pope’s visit. Her claim that there is no such thing as Islamic extremism goes to show how the baroness has blinkered herself to reality and only sees what she wishes to see. More dangerously, she denied any distinction between the moderate and the extreme. Moderate Muslims are quite happy to get on with their lives and get along with non-Muslims. Aside from a worrying lack public of outrage over the attitudes and actions of their counter parts, there is no need to fear them. Extreme Muslims who demand ‘respect’ (special treatment), have no wish to affiliate with non-Muslims, and attend those venom filled marches demanding for the end of freedom of speech, not to mention the other freedoms which allowed them to march in the first place are the ones we have every right to be afraid of. Warsi is sorely mistaken if she thinks otherwise.
“Within Government – among ministers, Coalition partners, officials and agencies – there is an endless battle on this matter. It is a fight between those who think that the way to win is to empower nasty people to control even nastier ones, and those who believe that the best way to deal with extremism is to confront it and reward only those who reject it. It is an argument between those who think that only violence need concern us, and those who believe that it is from bad ideas that bad actions spring.” – Charles Moore of The Telegraph.
If Ms Warsi thinks people have not noticed her own past criticisms of her fellow Muslims then she cannot think much of her electorate’s intelligence, potential or otherwise. Ms Warsi is of the latter group; reluctant to deal with the issue in favour of patching the symptoms when people are hurt due to the negligence and hesitation of those who could have prevented it. A free country, truly free, needs to live by common values (not legislated morality) and those who refuse to honour those values should be shunned. Extremism in any form is a force-majore, a phenomenon which once it takes hold is contagious and pernicious and does not let go. It does not listen to reason and any means is justified by the end. To deny it’s existence as Warsi has done is foolish and dangerous. She has encouraged the extremist fringe to nurture their supposed grievances (that people are allowed to not be Muslim and not share their lifestyle).
“This refusal to confront bad ideas means, for example, that the public authorities have shied away from having a look at what is preached at university Islamic societies. The security services do not investigate and combat subversion, as they did in the Cold War. Yet we know, from cases like that of the “Underpants Bomber”, that students are often recruited for extremism by contacts at their universities. It is a pity Lady Warsi said none of this to her university audience.” Charles Moore of The Telegraph.
With new free schools and academies increasing in number, it will not just be christian and jewish faith schools on the rise and outnumbering (possibly marginalising) the more secular state schools. These schools will be state funded despite their freedom to select their students based on the religion of their parents but very little will be known about the background of those setting them up. Great care must be taken to ensure that the power to warp young minds is not handed to fanatics along and then the bill sent to the tax-payer. Muslims are not a singular mass who all think the same way and attacks against them or harassment of them based on their religion is just as unforgivable as the actions of suicide bombers or perpetrators of honour killings: the one does not justify the other.
Let me now be distinct in saying that I do not hate Muslims. They are people, they have as much right to their own beliefs as I have of mine. It is Islam I have the issue with: the idea is not the believer. If this were twenty years ago maybe it is true I would not have been as out-spoken against the terrible ideology of this religion but that is probably due to the fact that it was not as frequently in the public consciousness but I am no less vocal in my criticism of other religions, so Muslims have no need to feel ‘picked’ on by me. Extremist right-wing groups such as the English Defence League and the British National (Nazi) Party do no favours to those of us who welcome real debate. Pitting ignorance against ignorance is only ever going to result in more ignorance and it is unfortunate that national papers have thrown their journalistic integrity away in order to use that ignorance to sell their bottom-shelf hack-rags.
Warsi is as much a hypocrite as ever I saw. Where she acknowledges the importance of distinctions, she wishes us to ignore it. She wishes people to stop worrying and let others do the thinking for them. Attempting to persuade the British public to abandon the idea of ‘moderate’ Muslims and replace it with ‘British Muslims’ is all very well but she seems to be ignoring the fact that many British Muslims are not in the least bit moderate having been swayed by international fanatics. If she wishes to strip them of the title Muslim then she is wilfully ignoring the particularly authoritarian brand of Islam that is being promoted in this country.
“The mere fact that someone is a Muslim tells you nothing about their moral character, sexuality, political attitudes or even wealth. Baroness Warsi is no more typical of her religion than David Cameron is of his. With such a broad general term, being prejudiced in favour is as silly as being prejudiced against.” Andrew Brown – The Guardian
When I see a woman in a burka, I see victim of Stockholm syndrome. I see a woman who has deliberately isolated herself from society and then displays that isolation because she has convinced herself it is her choice to be separate. It turns them into a faceless black shape with no singular identity. It removes their individuality so completely that it is almost as if they have ceased thinking of themselves as people. This is why I am for the banning of the oppressive garment, not as an ‘insult to Islam’ but out of respect for (and view to protect) the physical and psychological well-being of the women made to wear them.