Baroness Warsi has claimed that Islamophobia has ‘passed the dinner-table test’ and is seen by many as normal and uncontroversial. What is interesting in the speech was how she defined Islamophobia. What she called prejudice is simply mentioning Muslim extremism or terrorism.
Baroness Warsi claimed “The notion that all followers of Islam can be described either as ‘moderate’ or ‘extremist’ can fuel misunderstanding and intolerance.”
This is well past strange and moving into weird. Previously we were told that failure to differentiate between the peaceful majority of moderate Muslims and the extremist fringe of radical Muslims was Islamophobic. Now the baroness says that differentiating between the groups is Islamophobic.
What she appears to mean is that any mention of Muslim extremism at all is Islamophobic. This is an intimidatory tactic commonly used by every ‘spokesman’ from the Muslim community after a terrorist outrage.
It is unarguable that Muslim extremists are waging war against the west and doing so in the name of Islam. Baroness Warsi rightly urges the Muslim community to more clearly repudiate the violent jihadi’s and their actions. But pretending that these acts have no connection with the fact that they are committed by Muslims in the name of Islam makes her call to repudiate such actions meaningless.
She also rightly said that atrocities committed by a small number of Muslims should not be used to condemn all Muslims. Yet the only people who do so are those who support the English Defence League or the BNP, hardly Baroness Warsi’s usual dining companions.
Those who write about the dangers of an ideology determined to destroy our way of life usually make clear efforts to acknowledge that the majority of Muslims just want to get on with their lives. Is there any mainstream media outlet which, in the name of good community relations, does not acknowledge the distinction between majority peaceful Muslims and the violent jihadis? Yet that is the distinction which Warsi says is prejudice.
There is an undeniable difference between Muslims. There are those who are willing to live as British citizens under the same law as everyone else, who subscribe to traditional British values, often to a greater extent than native Brits, and who pose no threat to anyone. Then there are those who want sharia imposed by any means possible and who wish to destroy the democratic values and human rights we do have and replace them with an Islamic theocracy as a step to re-establishing the caliphate. The latter incontrovertibly exist, some polls placing the proportion of Muslims who want to live under sharia law in Britain or to Islamise the nation constitute a significant minority.
Given this the surprising thing is that there is so little prejudice against Muslims. Remember that Warsi made her speech last night at a time when there is an ongoing inquiry into the London bus and tube atrocities where Islamic terrorists murdered 52 people. Can anyone imagine there being such a clear lack of prejudice in a Muslim country if the situation was reversed?
What really causes anger and aids the BNP and their demented ilk is the denial that there is a problem within Islam. The refusal to confront the process of the Islamisation of Britain and efforts to stifle reasonable comment only makes the situation worse.
Our progressive elites exhibit their totalitarian tendencies in this area when they attempt to censor open discussion of Islamic terrorism. In this they differ only in degree from those Muslim extremists who say “Stop saying Islam is violent or I’ll kill you.”
Silence only clears the playing field for the unbalanced on both sides. Yet Baroness Warsi wants to censor debate. The more I encounter progressives in politics and the media the more I admire George Orwell.
I’m sure that Baroness Warsi genuinely wants to improve community relations, but calling ordinary concerned people prejudiced is hardly the best way of going about it. She could have used her position to speak some home truths to the Muslim community in Britain. Instead she has strengthened its sense of its own victimisation and made matters worse.