What Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali thinks of as “Islamic radicalism” is older than he realizes; it didn’t begin with Ibn Taymiyya, as the great jihad conquests that created the heart of what we think of as the Islamic world took place before the birth of that famous Islamic jurist; in fact, “Islamic radicalism” is as old as the Muslim Prophet Muhammad himself, as I demonstrate in my forthcoming book The Truth About Muhammad. But much of what the Bishop has to say here is absolutely true, and useful.
From the Telegraph, with thanks to B.:
Islamic radicalism did not begin with Muslim grievances over Western foreign policy in Iraq or Afghanistan. It has deep roots, going back to the 13th-century reformer Ibn Taimiyya, through Wahhabism to modern ideologues such as Sayyid Qutb in Egypt or Maududi in Pakistan.
The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan gave it the cause it was looking for, and Afghanistan became the place where Muslim radicals were trained, financed and armed (often with Western assistance).
The movements that were born or renewed do not have any kind of centralised command structure, but co-operate through diffuse networks of affinity and patronage. One of their most important aims is to impose their form of Islam on countries such as Pakistan, Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia. This may be why they were not regarded as an immediate threat to the West. Their other aims, however, include the liberation of oppressed Muslims in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya and elsewhere, and also the recovery of the Dar Al-Islam (or House of Islam), in its historic wholeness, including the Iberian peninsula, the Balkans and even India.
In this cause, the rest of the world, particularly the West, is Dar al-Harb (House of War). These other aims clearly bring such movements into conflict with the international community and with Western interests in particular.
So how does this dual psychology – of victimhood, but also the desire for domination – come to infect so many young Muslims in Britain? When I was here in the early 1970s, the practice of Islam was dominated by a kind of default Sufism or Islamic mysticism that was pietistic and apolitical. On my return in the late 1980s, the situation had changed radically. The change occurred because successive governments were unaware that the numerous mosques being established across the length and breadth of this country were being staffed, more and more, with clerics who belonged to various fundamentalist movements.
There were no criteria for entry, no way of evaluating qualifications and no programme for making them aware of the culture that they were entering. Until quite recently, ministers and advisers did not realise the scale of the problem, even though it was repeatedly brought to their attention. Secondly, in the name of multiculturalism, mosque schools were encouraged and Muslim pupils spent up to six extra hours a day learning the Koran and Islamic tradition, as well as their own regional languages. Finally, there are the grievances. Some of these are genuine enough, but the complaint often boils down to the position that it is always right to intervene where Muslims are victims (as in Bosnia or Kosovo), and always wrong when they may be the oppressors or terrorists (as with the Taliban or in Iraq), even when their victims are also mainly Muslims.
Given the world view that has given rise to such grievances, there can never be sufficient appeasement, and new demands will continue to be made. It is clear, therefore, that the multiculturalism beloved of our political and civic bureaucracies has not only failed to deliver peace, but is the partial cause of the present alienation of so many Muslim young people from the society in which they were born, where they have been educated and where they have lived most of their lives.
Read it all.