Michael Gove is correct that “the British State has failed to tackle the underlying ideological currents that favour Islamism.” But the real problem is still deeper: the British State, and all Western states, have failed to tackle the sources of those ideological currents, and to realize why “moderates” like the MCB, with whom they are so desperate to collaborate, so often turn out not to be so moderate at all.
From the TimesOnline, with thanks to Ruth King:
THE BRITISH State has come under severe criticism following the Forest Gate raid for its intelligence failures in the fight against terrorism. But the biggest failure of all in the battle against Islamist extremism has gone practically unnoticed.
Tony Blair has acknowledged that the fight against Islamist terrorism cannot be restricted to a police action against isolated individuals or small groups. Last summer he spelt out that a much broader effort is required to tackle, at root, the ideology of Islamism that has bewitched so many minds. But in the struggle against extremism the British State has failed to tackle the underlying ideological currents that favour Islamism. Organisations such as the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), whose members have shown sympathy for extremist positions, are rarely challenged, and certainly not publicly by the Government or its agencies.
For moderate Muslims the picture is dispiriting. They see the most religiously conservative and politically provocative groupings enjoy the lion’s share of attention and they wonder how serious the British State is about countering extremism. How can they convince young men within their community that the path of moderation brings respect and a voice in the nation’s deliberations when the most influential voices are seen to belong to those with radical agendas?
In Islamist circles a complementary message is absorbed. The British State does not have the courage to face down the advocates of political Islam. Islamists in Britain scent weakness. Just as Islamists abroad believe the West does not have the stamina to resist for long, so Islamists within the UK believe the momentum is with them. Islam’s Leninists have drawn the bayonet, probed, and found mush.