Islamism and the Scapegoating of Muslims

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Once in ancient times when woes happened on a people, rituals were performed. A high priest would enter a temple having taken on, and hopefully been cleansed for, the sins of the nation. After this a rope was tied round him before he went to meet the divine presence in the Holy of Holies in case God did smite him, and they could drag him out. If sins forgiven, he would come out alive without being tugged.

The more common one we think of is such sins being transferred into a goat that would be driven out of the community into the wilderness – the legendary scapegoat of Leviticus 16.

In modern times those to be scapegoated are five percent of the population:

There’s a problem within Islam, this is true, but unless people stop screaming racist, bigot, fascist, hate monger and resort to insults and threats at those who criticise/hold an opinion then we will never ever see peace in our lifetime, muslim population is less than 5% of the UK population yet it’s in our media and lives daily, what happens when it gets bigger? You may not care enough today, but what about tomorrow, if we don’t do something about our concerns today then next generations will say “what the hell did our parents/grandparents do”…

At least mine will say “she tried”

Invited by a blogger to shed a tear reading that last line, I wonder what frenzy of fear must grip someone to think there will be no peace in the land of hope and glory while Muslims reside amongst us, only adding to our problems if they breed? A shiver up my spin was my reaction instead. A group of easily identified people were the problem while the solution was left hanging.

Martin Amis, in remarks he now regrets making, summed up the scapegoating principe:

There’s a definite urge—don’t you have it?—to say, “The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order.” What sort of suffering? Not letting them travel. Deportation—further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan. . . . Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children. . . . They hate us for letting our children have sex and take drugs—well, they’ve got to stop their children killing people.

The blogger that took “there’s a problem … ” quote above from the post of an English Defence League (EDL) supporter made this remark which they shared with me in a new post:

The painful truth is that we are in deep, deep waters precisely because many Muslims are correctly interpreting an ideology which is demonstrably intolerant, disturbing and violent. People don’t understand just how poisonous this ideology is and they don’t understand the cancer of self-censorship and fear gnawing away rabidly at free speech, because they haven’t got even the slightest clue how important free speech is to our way of life. [Source]

Political Islamism is an ideology within Islam – calling it the correct interpretation is as ludicrous as denying it has anything to do with Islam. Looking at other faiths people have similarly found inspiration to legitimise intolerance and violence whether in Rwanda or the Balkans. Religion far from helping to bring people together sets them apart.

Religion is a problem and political Islam the biggest challenge we all face including Muslims who suffer the most from it.

Will intransigence by the educated middle class result in us “living under full fat sharia” as the blogger states:

Only at that point might they beg their unwashed underclass to fight this apocalyptic war for them. The only thing stopping them from asking now is that they’re too fucking stupid to realise we’re already at war. [writers own emphasis]

Sharia would be an anathema to the human rights model that we esteem in this country, and secularism means freedom of religion and lack of coercion in matters of religion. Multiculturalism should not mean human right abuses like female genital mutilation being tolerated. Yet when I have seen Muslims on twitter with secularised renderings of Koran and Hadith I have seen non muslims tell them they are not sticking to the “correct” fundamentals of their faith. What version of Islam do we want for goodness sake! Is the war to be fought against our own people or is there a better way than using such rhetoric on a whole people who are not terrorists, just Muslims.

Secularism and humanist principles do not allow sacred books or traditional interpretations to have the last word. Muslims can totally get that – they need to be emboldened not told they lack the correct interpretation. They have a hard enough time from orthodox believers, believe me. Women should not be imprisoned in their homes, and segregation in public spaces zero tolerance for in the UK.

The enemy is not muslims but those that support a theocratic Islamic state denying pluralism, free speech, fundamental human rights and secularism – the Islamists. The left need to realise this distinction in British politics and that we must challenge theocracy at every turn.

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The EDL in their mission statement “Promoting The Traditions And Culture Of England” are vague on the details in this supposed war in the UK. Some supporters tell me reaffirming the Church of England and Christianity is the way forward – a religion set up by a “Paedophilie” King (Bessie Blount mistress to King Henry VIII at around 14). The irony of using modern social norms when criticising a 7th century “paedophile” prophet is lost while they promote the C of E. And who supported sharia in England – none other than the former Archbishop of Canterbury. Yes I am mocking the crass remarks in tweets about Mohammed – far better ways to make the argument follow.

Those that are apologists for Islam – trying to make slavery under it benign for example – need to be challenged on the historical veracity of their revisionism. Some verses deserve outright condemnation rather than revision. As always making something God’s Word makes this too sensitive for some; and illegal in some countries to question. Pointing out that sex with minors and captured slaves makes values of early Islam not timeless but subject to the moral zeitgeist may not always be appreciated. They are valid.

Our criticisms require us to be well heeled in knowledge of Islam and extremism without wearing jackboots ourselves. If the shoe fits I hope you find it uncomfortable and take off quickly before marching against the ideals you claim to be protecting.

As Ghaffar Hussain says, ‘The far-Right has been evolving in their tactics and strategy and seeking to adapt to their environment in order to survive. One of the outcomes of this adaption has been the attempt to hijack the anti-extremist agenda in order to drive through a hidden racist and xenophobic agenda.’

I will continue to criticise religion – but I will not welcome as fellow critics those on the far right that promote solutions that would erode secularism in this country, not encourage secularised Islam to flourish, and would deny freedoms that are the rights of all citizens in this country regardless of creed or skin colour.

Nor will I for the sake of embracing different cultures accept the degrading of human rights as if that was what multiculturalism called for. The left misunderstood this and continue to with the Muslim Brotherhood.

If you oppose sharia support “One Law For All”. Ending extremism within Islam and young people Quilliam Foundation. The human rights of blasphemers and apostates The Council of Ex Muslims of Britain.

Religion poisons everything – people of indefatigable good will to all are the antidote. They are to be found as atheists and theists.

There is no scapegoat to drive off this island, and no high priest to absolve us of our sins. We have to work hard together to defeat the extremists that would rule us by fear or coercion.

For a master class in dealing with Islamism read Christopher Hitchens Facing the Islamist Menace.

Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog

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10 Comments

Filed under atheism, British Politics, British Society, Council of Ex Muslims of Britain, Culture, Religion, World

10 responses to “Islamism and the Scapegoating of Muslims

  1. Huma

    “Sharia would be an anathema to the human rights model that we esteem in this country, and secularism means freedom of religion and lack of coercion in matters of religion. Multiculturalism should not mean human right abuses like female genital mutilation being tolerated.”

    It is evident that you have no background in law, human rights or Islam – why blog on this issue? Leave it to those who have at least a minimum level of understanding.

  2. Jim

    ‘Secular faith’ be it Islam or any other religion is a contradiction. To rely on people rejecting their faith or at least a large portion of it strikes me as a naively optomistic approach to Islam/Islamism which is something that is not only foreign to Britain but also a distinct threat to these islands and our way of life.

    • I find faith in a zealous wood maker from Judea that performed miracles alien too.

      To be really traditional support the Druids.

      Personally I prefer a secular state and religious freedom – and I will defend that against all foes whether foreign or domestic.

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  7. “The enemy is not muslims but those that support a theocratic Islamic state denying pluralism, free speech, fundamental human rights and secularism – the Islamists.”

    I agree, but think there is a further problem.
    Who defines who is actually an Islamist and what it truly encompasses, or what could tacitly prop it all up?

    At the Bedford meeting last week (Quiz a Muslim, organised by 5Pillars), I’d say each and every one of those on stage was an Islamist. They would deny it, but they fit into the category of struggling for a caliphate as was discussed and supported at that meeting. Also supported by at least one panel member is death for apostasy, but he refused to discuss that on the night for some reason.

    What about the 27% from a poll commissioned earlier this year, who said they had sympathy/empathy for the motives or actions of the Charlie Hebdo killers? Who knows who these people are or where they fit into the spectrum? Certainly, after Charlie Hebdo, the Muslim Council of Britain posted a condemnation on their website, but also posted a much longer article reminding everyone that Muhammed is so loved. Why? As explanation for the killings? An excuse? Looking for admiration? Or reminding people not to produce a picture of Muhammed, because you know what you’ll get, and you’ve been told? Where do the MCB fit into this, in terms of Islamism? They certainly push for a return to blasphemy laws, which by definition intrudes on free speech.

    Seeing as there is, in this case, a link however tentative, between that 27% and what was in the minds of the killers, does that make them Islamists? Maybe they couldn’t give a monkey’s about a caliphate. Maybe they think they support free speech. Maybe they reject the Bedford mob. Who knows?

    Who are they? I’d say they are certainly not at the end of the secular/liberal scale.

    So is there a problem at the conservative/orthodox end who see certain things as “normative Islam,” while not, at least publicly, lending themselves to “Islamism”?

    Why is it so easy for me to talk to Jewish friends and note and agree on the ridiculousness of a Charedi school threatening to ban pupils if their mothers drive them to school?
    The distinction between secular Jewish and orthodox Jewish is obvious.
    The distinction between secular Muslims and orthodox Muslims is obvious. The distinction between Islamism and orthodox Muslims is not so obvious, and that, as far as I see it, is a problem.

    • It’s a point I felt needed elaborating on when reading “Islam and the future of tolerance.” In a nutshell (as Maajid covers) it’s personal belief and enforcing it on others to comply. That be definition means even then some beliefs will still need challenging (as as on gender equality and LGBT right).

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