Nothing really surprising here. When have we ever seen a Muslim leader in the West say, “Yes, we have a serious problem in our community, and it’s up to us to clean it up”?
“Dr Bari: Government stoking Muslim tension,” by Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson in the Telegraph (thanks to all who sent this in):
…Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, the leader of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), thinks the Government is stoking the tension.
“There is a disproportionate amount of discussion surrounding us,” he says. “The air is thick with suspicion and unease. It is not good for the Muslim community, it is not good for society.”
Here’s an easy way to end the suspicion and unease: institute comprehensive programs in mosques and Islamic schools teaching against violent jihad and Islamic supremacism. Instead of focusing on “Islamophobia,” as your “Islam Is Peace” campaign does, focus on what you must do to end violence committed in the name of Islam and supremacist statements of how Islam must and will dominate. Then “Islamophobia” — and suspicion and unease about Muslims — will vanish.
The 53-year-old special needs teacher has a gentle manner and a quiet voice – he describes himself as a “community spokesman” rather than a “religious leader” – but he does not mince his words.
Britain must, he warns, beware of becoming like Nazi Germany.
“Every society has to be really careful so the situation doesn’t lead us to a time when people’s minds can be poisoned as they were in the 1930s. If your community is perceived in a very negative manner, and poll after poll says that we are alienated, then Muslims begin to feel very vulnerable. We are seen as creating problems, not as bringing anything and that is not good for any society.”
Playing the Nazi card is a sure sign of intellectual demagoguery. Jews in Nazi Germany had not perpetrated anything like the July 7 bombings in London. They hadn’t paraded around with placards warning that Britain would soon face a catastrophic terror attack, as Muslims in Britain did during the Muhammad cartoon controversy. They didn’t say they wanted to see the government overthrown and replaced by religious rule, as several Muslims have in Britain. In short, they hadn’t done anything: they really were victims. For Bari to compare Muslims in Britain, who have done little or nothing to root out the jihadists in their midst, to those Jews is a transparent attempt to claim a victim status that will deflect unwanted scrutiny and criticism, and demonize those who dare to suggest that Britain should defend itself against Islamization.
There is, in his view, no such thing as Islamic terrorism.
“Terrorists are terrorists, they may use religion but we shouldn’t say Muslim terrorists, it stigmatises the whole community. We never called the IRA Catholic terrorists.” Dr Bari thinks Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, made the extremists’ job easier by giving a bleak picture of the threat on the eve of the Queen’s Speech.
The IRA could not and did not point to Christian Scripture to explain their actions. Their actions did not proceed in accord with the teachings of the Catholic Church. The jihadists do make extensive use of Islamic texts and teachings, and every school of Islamic jurisprudence teaches that Muslims must conquer unbelievers and subjugate them under the rule of Islamic law.
“I think it is creating a scare in the community and wider society. It probably helps some people who try to recruit the young to terrorism. Muslim young people are as vulnerable as any others. Under this climate of fear they will begin to feel victimised.”…
That is, anti-terrorism causes terrorism. Don’t resist, and everything will be fine.
Control orders and stop and search powers are further increasing the sense of alienation among Muslims, Dr Bari says, and the Metropolitan Police are not helping matters either.
“There was institutional racism and institutions as massive as the Met find it hard to change. They need more Muslim police officers. I’m not going to use the term trigger happy – sometimes the police can make mistakes – but they need to do their job in a better way.”
What race are Muslims again?
Meanwhile, “I’m not going to use the term trigger happy” is more intellectual demagoguery: it’s using the term while maintaining the appearance of not using it.
Sir Salman Rushdie should never have been knighted, he says. “He caused a huge amount of distress and discordance with his book, it should have been pulped.”
There goes freedom of speech. Note: if you cause distress to Muslims, Bari believes you should not be allowed to speak. Such protection is accorded to no other group, but who cares?
Critics say the MCB – an umbrella organisation with 500 affiliates – has itself contributed to the growing sense of unease in Britain. The Government has cut funding to the council following claims that it had links with extremists. A Tory report this year accused it of promoting segregation.
Dr Bari insists he is simply trying to unite disparate communities. “On the one hand we are accused of not engaging, being insular, and on the other hand of being too political. We can’t win.”
Sure you can. Cut the demagoguery, the finger-pointing, and the double talk. Take responsibility for jihadist sentiments among Muslims, and work honestly to end them. You’ll be amazed at how many friends you would win if you did that.
The MCB was criticised for boycotting Holocaust Day but he says he did not mean to offend Jewish people: “It should be inclusive, commemorating all massacres.”
He’s a canny spin doctor: what he really means is that it should be transformed into a platform for accusing Israel of the atrocities created by the Pallywood propaganda machine.
According to a recent report by the Policy Exchange think-tank, the bookshop at the east London Mosque, which Dr Bari chairs, stocks extremist literature.
“The bookshops are independent businesses,” he says. “We can’t just go in and tell them what to sell “¦ I will see what books they keep, if they have one book which looks like it is inciting hatred, do they have counter books on the same shelf?”
So let me get this straight: we can pulp Rushdie’s book without a second thought, but we can’t go into bookstores and tell them to stop stocking jihadist books.
He is more careful about who is allowed to preach in the mosque. “If I hear of a specific preacher who is inciting hatred I will ban him from preaching but I cannot disallow him from praying.”
And if he prays like Samir Khan, what will happen then?
In Dr Bari’s view, suicide bombers are victims as well as aggressors. “I deal with emotionally damaged children,” he explains. “Children come to hate when they don’t get enough care and love. They are probably bullied, it makes a young person angry and vulnerable.
“The extreme case could be suicide bombers, it is all they have “¦ The people who become suicide bombers are really vulnerable.”
Although he stresses there is no justification for suicide bombing – “killing innocent people is completely forbidden, Islam is very emphatic on that” – he says British foreign policy has driven Muslims into the arms of the extremists.
“Criminal people have used that as a weapon to encourage young people, those who don’t have any anchor in themselves, [to become suicide bombers]. Iraq has been a disaster, the country has been destroyed for no reason, that had an impact on the Muslim psyche.”
Who is innocent, Dr. Bari?
Meanwhile, by saying that “British foreign policy has driven Muslims into the arms of the extremists,” Bari is suggesting that violence committed by Muslims in the name of Islam is a reaction to British and American foreign policy. Muslims, driven into a rage of frustration by the American and British actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, respond by blowing things up. American and British support for Israel, of course, helps fuel Muslim violence as well.
So what can Western governments do to make sure that something on the order of the July 7 bombing doesn’t happen again? Why, it’s simple. All they have to do is adjust their foreign policies. In other words, Bari is talking blackmail, implying: Do what we want, and we won’t blow you up.
His passion is to integrate Muslim and British cultures – he says integration must go both ways.
“Everybody can learn from everyone. Some of the Muslim principles can help social cohesion – family, marriage, raising children with boundaries, giving to the poor, not being too greedy.”
British people could, in his view, benefit from arranged marriages. “I prefer to call them assisted marriages,” he says.
“Alcohol is the worst drug long-term,” he says, and adds that the Government should consider banning drinking in public places, as it has done with smoking.
Is stoning ever justified? “It depends what sort of stoning and what circumstances,” he replies. “When our prophet talked about stoning for adultery he said there should be four [witnesses] – in realistic terms that’s impossible. It’s a metaphor for disapproval.”
There should be more modesty too. “You shouldn’t be revealing your body so much that it can be tempting to other people. I hope my daughter wouldn’t wear a bikini but I also hope she wouldn’t wear a burka.”…
All right. So in your dream Britain, Dr. Bari, will the government regulate dress?
Name: Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari
Job: leader of the Muslim Council of Britain
Family: married with four children
Background: he grew up on a rice and jute farm in Bangladesh on the outskirts of Dhaka Career: trained as a pilot, before moving to Britain and switching to academia, PhD in physics King’s College London, science teacher in Haringey, special needs educator for Tower Hamlets.
Favourite things about Britain: fish and chips, cheese, shirts and ties
Not, you’ll notice, “intellectual freedom,” “the rule of law,” “the splendors of English literature and art,” etc.