Qutb the progressive

David Edgar is attempting to recast the Muslim Brotherhood (and Qutb) as a progressive political force in a piece called Preachers of Pluralism:

The co-chair of the February 2003 Iraq war march, Anas Altikriti of the British Muslim Initiative, points out that the Qur’an says nothing about homosexuality beyond relaying the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Birmingham Respect councillor Salma Yaqoob has consistently opposed bans of and protests against anti-Muslim material. Influenced by Abdelwahab El-Affendi (author of Who Needs an Islamic State?) and the international scholar Tariq Ramadan, these Muslims are seeking to build a distinctly European Islam that sits easily with western pluralism and its political processes, without having to sacrifice the essentials of their beliefs.

So why is this narrative not trumpeted in the myriad guidelines on combating extremism? It’s not Muslim views on halal meat or the hijab that bother the government, but their views on other matters. All these activists oppose the government’s attacks on civil liberties. Like the 7/7 bombers, they were politicised not by Afghanistan or Iraq but by the Bosnian war, and the sight of western countries standing by while Muslims were dispossessed, raped and murdered on Europe’s eastern doorstep. They see no reason to keep quiet about their views of western foreign policy now. As Yaqoob puts it, the huge support for the February 2003 march – particularly from middle England – led many Muslims to feel they belonged to Britain for the first time.

There’s plenty to be criticised there, but the Muslim Brotherhood are building a distinctly European Islam that sits easily with western pluralism and its political processes?

It is perhaps understandable that people could have the wool pulled over their eyes, but David Edgar chooses to stick his head in the rear end of a sheep. This is Edgar’s description of Qutb:

Echoing the Protestant reformation, Qutb advocated a global Islam, liberated from national forms. His vision gives Muslims an attachment to a world community; it is compatible with many aspects of modernity; and, on a personal level, it gives Muslims an Islamic excuse not to marry their cousins.

Qutb is no progressive.