Here’s the Guardian’s editorial take on the Daud Abdullah affair:
It is also true that a document signed by Mr Abdullah at a recent international conference is in many ways offensive, with sweeping threats against those who stand with Israel and a slip into racialised language in relation to the Jewish state. But the government’s chief quarrel is with the hypothetical suggestion that resistance would be appropriate if UK forces were ever used to intercept arms destined for Gaza. Very many Muslims, and indeed many non-Muslims, would agree with that – just as many in the mainstream felt anger in response to a war of aggression in Iraq. For all the undoubted differences with the long years of the Irish republican armed campaign – the abject lack of support for terrorism in the Muslim community being the most important – there is a parallel when it comes to the folly of refusing to engage with widespread views because they are deemed disagreeable.
It is not up to ministers whom Muslims choose as their spokesmen, and they would do well to acknowledge that.
The Guardian has a certain constituency who, when faced with genocidal fascists who promise to attack them, immediately respond: “we had it coming to us”.
However, I think that Guardian over-estimates the size of the self-flagelating demographic.
Likewise, I really don’t think that there are that many people in this country who view with equanimity, threats to commit terrorist attacks on the Royal Navy, or “institutions and individuals” in this country who some terrorist believes is ‘standing’ with Israel.
That said, the Muslim Council of Britain should be entirely free to choose whoever it wants to speak for them. Nobody would ever require the British National Party to expel its racist members – it is after all a racist party, and to require it to abandon its core principles would deny its essential character. Similarly, if the MCB wants outspoken racists and supporters of terrorism to represent it, we shouldn’t interfere. Why should outsiders require an organisation to dissemble its true nature?
That doesn’t mean that Government should “engage” with the MCB: any more than it should with the BNP. It isn’t a matter of “disagreeable” views. It is just that racists and supporters of terrorism have no place in mainstream politics, and democrats and liberals have nothing to discuss with such people.
This passage, I also agree with strongly:
They would do far better – and do more for security – to build bridges with individual Muslims in ways that have nothing to do with religion. Improving the lot of British Muslims in terms of jobs and education would be the best way to dissuade potential extremists from defining themselves exclusively in terms of membership of an downtrodden group. As the Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen has argued: “A choiceless singularity of human identity not only diminishes us all, it also makes the world more flammable.”
Spot on, Guardian.
Ministers – please pay attention!