Thursday, August 17, 2006

A top British Muslim is undone by his own words

With this piece in today's Guardian, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain decries what he calls the misinterpretation of a recent letter to PM Tony Blair (emphasis supplied):
The open letter to the prime minister - which I signed alongside more than 40 Muslim groups, MPs and peers - has been subject to deliberate misinterpretation,suggesting a willingness among Muslim leaders to excuse violence and promote a simplified view of how extremism takes root.
A few paragraphs later he is excusing violence:
When difficult decisions are made, we must be ready to tackle the consequences that ensue.
He sums up thusly:
But Muslim leaders, parents and communities will be better positioned to defuse the potency of extremists' arguments once the impact of foreign policy has been acknowledged.
So, Britain must be aware that the extremists have potent (read: valid) arguments, and that any terrorist consequences to Britain's actions are natural. It should be the Muslim leaders' job to discredit the extremists' religious arguments; they needn't worry about supporting Blair's foreign policy. Certainly even the most valid complaint with Britain's foreign policy cannot excuse terror. Even if he feels the extremists have a potent argument, he can still point out that Islam forbids terror. Another lesson he should preach: the ballot box is where those opposed to a government's policy need to make their displeasure known. There are doubtless many modern Chamberlains out there; vote for them.

The author notes that he doesn't want appeasement, but goes on to say that Britain's failure to call for a ceasefire in Lebanon left many Muslims feeling "aggrieved and powerless", which is shorthand for "potential terrorists". Lesson to be learned: do what we want > nobody feels aggrieved or powerless > nobody becomes a terrorist > UK remains safe.

Fairly clever of him to latch on to this. Many Brits were unhappy with the magnitude of Israel's response to Hizbollah's attacks. Linking Muslims to anti-Israel feelings can only help him mainstream his ideas.