This is worth the price of admission right away: “David Cameron was in Turkey yesterday endorsing Turkish membership of the EU, as blogger Laban Tall says, ‘doubtless driven by that grass-roots Tory pressure for a few million Turks to come to the UK.'”
But all of it is worth reading. Cameron has just joined the very long line of Western politicians who assume that Islam and the Qur’an are fundamentally peaceful, ignoring the huge chasm of cognitive dissonance that opens up between their statements to that effect and the repeated, consistent, and theologically detailed statements of the mujahedin explaining and justifying their actions in Islamic terms, with copious Qur’an references.
So on the one hand we have pious Muslims, including many Islamic clerics, insisting and explaining that Islam mandates warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers; on the other hand, we have non-Muslim politicians who have probably never opened a Qur’an, and maybe even never seen one up close, insisting without explanation that Islam mandates peaceful coexistence with unbelievers and mutual respect. Behind them are a small number of high profile Muslim spokesmen, ranging from smooth deceivers with Brotherhood ties who talk peace out of one side of their mouths and jihad out of the other, and some sincere reformers with eccentric theologies and minuscule followings among Muslims.
And in the middle we have a large number of Muslims who are not actively aiding the jihad but aren’t doing anything to stop it. Which side will they come down on if it comes down to a choice they have to make? I don’t think that is in doubt, given how much group loyalty is inculcated into this particular group. But no one in authority seems to care about the implications of that, either.
“Who is David Cameron to say what the ‘real Islam’ is?” — Ed West asks that splendid and apposite question in the Telegraph, July 28:
David Cameron was in Turkey yesterday endorsing Turkish membership of the EU, as blogger Laban Tall says, “doubtless driven by that grass-roots Tory pressure for a few million Turks to come to the UK”.
Personally I’m quite happy for Turkey to have our EU place, if they really want it; or to be a fellow member of a new free trade area along EFTA lines, with restrictions on free movement until some point when its median income reach western European levels.
But until that happens membership of the EU is a non-starter, and everyone knows it.
And as well as being disingenuous about the EU, Cameron is also playing the disingenuous theologian. Rod Liddle points out that he criticises opponents of a Muslim country joining the EU by claiming:
“They see no difference between real Islam and the distorted version of the extremists. They think the values of Islam can never be compatible with the values of other religions, societies or cultures.”
Cameron is falling into exactly the same trap as his predecessors, by trying to play the theologian. Tony Blair called the Koran a “progressive” book, while Jacqui Smith called Islamic terrorism “anti-Islamic” activities, while the phrase “religion of peace” has been used so much by well-meaning politicians that it is now used, exclusively, in an ironic sense by cynics.
Who on earth is Cameron to say what is the real Islam? If a fresh-faced politician from the Islamic world told us that the fundamentalist Christians who funded settlements in the West Bank because they believed in some crazy end times were not “real Christians”, I’d be flattered that he recognised differences within a large and wide ranging religion, but I’d also think “Who are you to say?”
When politicians start claiming to have theological insight into Islam, it usually signals a ham-fisted, expensive and counter-productive attempt to deal with radical Islam. I pray not in this case. As Douglas Murray said last month, on the Government’s disastrous “Prevent” agenda: “Government can’t do many things very well… but the thing it definitely can’t do very well is theology, in particular a theology it knows very little about, or is only starting to learn about.”
The real problem, as no western politician will admit, is that Islam has no experience of secularism. I don’t mean secularism in the secondary sense used by the National Secular Society, which aims to drive religion out of all public life as it was in the Soviet Union – that’s Bolshevism, not secularism – but of a separation of church and state….