25 July 2015

Can the Middle East tackle Islamist militancy?

.... If you watch Saudi television, as I sometimes do, you will quickly realise that Saudi Arabia is tragicomically caught in the huge gap between the image it tries to project and the reality it pretends does not exist.

Last Saturday was such a moment.

After the announcement that the interior ministry had broken up terror cells linked to so-called Islamic State (IS) and arrested some 400 suspects, Saudi commentators took to the airwaves. They praised the police for thwarting planned terrorists attacks and, crucially, noted the young age of the suspects, most of whom were Saudis.

They talked about how Saudi society could steer those stray, lost souls back to the path of true Islam and away from extremism.

The irony couldn't have escaped anyone who knows Saudi Arabia well.

How could this ultra-conservative monarchy fight extremism when its own brand of the faith - known as Wahhabi Islam - is barely distinguishable from the one practised by the militants in Syria and Iraq? [BBC] Read more

Muslim group welcomes PM's extremism crackdown in UK

.... Forum member Dr Khurshid Ahmed said the way some recent speeches by the Prime Minister had been reported had not been received well because Muslims felt they were all being asked to apologise for the activities of Islamic State and extremists.

Dr Ahmed, referring to the speech, said: “I welcome it. We are all very supportive of any measures we can come up with to deal with extremism, as long as there is a fair approach to all forms of extremism, from Islamist to the right-wing fascist.”

Mr Cameron said it was every citizen’s duty to challenge extremist ideas.

Speaking after his speech, Mr Cameron said: “I was chatting to Abdullah beforehand. He was very inspiring to me because first of all he was taking part in the Balsall Heath Forum which is a great expression of the Big Society – people who got together and weren’t happy with the way things are. [Birmingham Post] Read more

Faith School Bans Pupils From Meeting 'Outsiders'

A Muslim boarding school has been rated "good" by Ofsted, despite threatening to expel students if they mix with other children.

The Institute of Islamic Education in Dewsbury was praised by the education watchdog despite its pupils being taught not to speak to the media and being banned from watching TV, listening to the radio or reading newspapers.

Last week David Cameron criticised some faith schools in a speech on extremism, saying that improving integration was part of the "the struggle of our generation".

.... In its most recent inspection report Ofsted specifically praised the Dewsbury school for preparing its pupils to cater for the changing needs of British Muslims.

"The Islamic Institute of Education provides a good quality of education and meets its stated aims very well," it said.

The school is housed in Dewsbury's Markazi Mosque compound and run by the Tablighi Jamaat sect, which imposes a strict Sharia code on students.

The school has no website, but Sky News obtained copies of documents given to parents which state that students "socialising with outsiders... will be expelled if there is no improvement after cautioning." [Sky News] Read more

24 July 2015

Government Steps In To Replace Leadership Of ‘Extremist’ Mosque

.... The Masjid and Madrasah Al-Tawhid Trust, a charity which funds and controls the Salafist ideology Masjid al-Tawhid mosque in Leyton, East London, has been under investigation by the charity commission since 2012 over allegations it had links to terrorist and extremist groups.

Although the local Muslim community dismissed the accusations as stemming from bitter former members of the mosque spreading lies, the Charity Commission has now found grounds to remove a group whose claim to control the charity was substantiated by “procedural flaws”.

.... The al-Tawhid mosque has long been a source of controversy, welcoming a range of extremist speakers to address the congregation. A 2012 BBC London feature made when the enquiry started reported that extremist preacher Abu Qatada, deported from the UK for terror offences in 2013 has spoken there several times, as had senior Al-Qaeda man Anwar al-Awlaki. al-Awlaki, who prosletysed and recruited for al-Qaeda in Europe as well as wrote the terrorist organisation’s propaganda magazine Inspire, was killed by U.S. drone strike in 2011. [Breitbart] Read more

Why has scientific progress stalled in many Islamic countries?

.... For editor Jeremy Henzell-Thomas, research associate at the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge, Muslims need to steer a path between two opposing dangers when it comes to higher education and science.

One is the “lame duck” mentality, which frames answers to questions “only in terms of ‘catching up’ with Western models of knowledge production, professionalism, quality assurance, critical thinking, research, liberal arts” and so on.

The opposite trap is “the ‘cosy corner’ mentality, which prefers to occupy a parochial corner in which everything which is not explicitly ‘Islamicised’ is seen as threatening or deviant”.

In his essay, Dr Zou’bi writes that in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf are many “multi-billion dollar educational and scientific projects”. All, however, are “totally dependent on expatriates” and “exist in a culture that is indifferent to science at best, or aggressively anti-science at worst”, as exemplified by a YouTube video of a Saudi theologian in Sharjah telling a large audience that the Sun revolves around a stationary Earth. [Times Higher Education] Read more

23 July 2015

Why my own father would have let IS kill me

The group that calls itself Islamic State (IS or Isis) has a special punishment for gay people - it kills them by throwing them off high buildings. Taim, a 24-year-old medical student, tells the story of how he only escaped this fate by fleeing from Iraq to Lebanon.

In our society, being gay means death. When Isis kills gays, most people are happy because they think we're sick.

I first realised I was gay when I was about 13 or 14. I too thought homosexuality was a sickness and I just wanted to feel normal. During my first year of college, I started having therapy for it. My therapist told me to tell friends that I was going through a "difficult phase" and to ask for their support. [BBC] Read more

Salman Rushdie on Islam: 'We have learned the wrong lessons'

Salman Rushdie believes that if The Satanic Verses had been published today, the members of the literary elite who rounded on Charlie Hebdo in the wake of the French satirical magazine winning a PEN prize for courage would not have defended him.

In an interview with the French magazine L’Express, the novelist said that “it seems we have learned the wrong lessons” from the experience of The Satanic Verses, which saw a fatwa issued against him by Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989, sending him into hiding. “Instead of realising that we need to oppose these attacks on freedom of expression, we thought that we need to placate them with compromise and renunciation,” he said.

.... The novelist told the French magazine that he believes “we are living in the darkest time I have ever known”, with the rise of Islamic State of “colossal importance for the future of the world”. He argued that the taboo surrounding “supposed ‘Islamophobia’” must be brought to an end.

“Why can’t we debate Islam?” he said. “It is possible to respect individuals, to protect them from intolerance, while being sceptical about their ideas, even criticising them ferociously.” [518 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 117 votes] It's true. In the current intellectual climate Rushdie would have been taken to task for insulting Islam.

He should be praised for his honesty.

[2ND 87] Islam in the West hides behind it's minority status when criticised, while quite bizarrely, also taking the very opposite tack by accusing its critics of being against one and a half billion Muslims worldwide, aided and abetted,of course, by useful idiots in the Western liberal establishment.

[3RD 80] .... The impression I've got is that Hebdo happily attacked EVERYBODY - including the Pope and the French Elite. That certain Muslims regarded their particular ideology as above such treatment shows the degree to which they were rejecting, violently, the culture of those among whom they lived. Such behaviour is unacceptable - as acceptance implies a surrender of your own culture.

[4TH 69 ] Yes we have chosen appeasement. I knew this a few years back when Jack Straw publically condemned the original Mohammed cartoons. Our mistake is to believe that religion by default occupies some ethereal plane separate from politics, perhaps understandable given our cultural memory and experience of Protestantism which has dominated the British Isles, and which is on the face of it is highly private and individualising, ostensively apolitical (but probably not immanantly). By appeasing we expect the radicals to go back in a box and Islam to default to its supposed apolitical essence.

[5TH 56] .... most muslims are afflicted by a belligerent sense of victimhood than actual victimhood. What is islamophobia? It is a word that exists only to cut down criticism of a particular religion. It is telling that no similar word exists to protect other religions despite much harsher denunciation of these religions. There is condemnation of some very nasty ideas in conservative islam - ideas that cause real harm and suffering - what the hell is wrong with that?

[6TH 52] Good piece. The moral cowardice displayed by many commentators and politicians when Rushdie was under attack has fed into the current situation. How many of the kids who've run off to Syria have parents who were burning copies of The Satanic Verses?

[7TH 50] Blasphemy laws are a tacit admission by the religious and the liberals they use as human shields from debate, that there is precious little of value held within. Otherwise there would be no fear of it not being able to withstand scrutiny.

[8TH 48] When thousands and thousands marched through streets of cities in Britain calling for Salman to be murdered, we had a problem. The same ideology, the same extremism, manifests today in men and boys who go to join ISIS. We were silent then, we held our tongues, and we are where we are now because of it.

[9TH 46] Salman, as always, is spot on.

He argued that the taboo surrounding “supposed ‘Islamophobia’” must be brought to an end. “Why can’t we debate Islam?” he said. “It is possible to respect individuals, to protect them from intolerance, while being sceptical about their ideas, even criticising them ferociously.”

Now, more than ever, this is needed. The proxy blasphemy codes, the fear, the self-censoring, the blame shifting, these are the fruits of relativism and special religious pleading. In the UK, America and Europe, when we defend dissidents and critics of Islam, we defend them in Islamic countries too. If we can be silenced in liberal secular democracies because of hustled blasphemy taboos and codes, then liberal secularism is dead. The new inquisition will have prevailed.

That is why we will never be silenced, never be quietened.

[10TH 35] There are some seriously mixed up views in Western European polite society when it comes to Islam. On the one hand many are terrified of appearing to be racist or of unfairly making scapegoats of a minority (perhaps fearful of holocaust type echoes) while at the same time they profess to stand for everything the fundamentalists despise. If a sizable portion of a certain religion's followers have not managed to integrate with secular society and culturally evolve to the point that they can allow their religion to be mocked then they clearly don't believe in the ideas on which Western secular societies are based on. That is the fault of the religious followers NOT of authors or satirists that mock and/or challenge the religion. [The Guardian] Read more

Curfew for halal chicken offensive sticker protester

A man who attached offensive stickers to halal chicken in a supermarket has been given a four-week curfew.

Liam Edwards, 29, admitted racially aggravated criminal damage.

The van driver placed stickers on chickens at a Sainsbury's store in Salford which read: "Beware halal is barbaric and funds terrorism".

He insisted his protest was against the halal slaughter of animals rather than being racially prejudiced, Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court heard. [BBC] Read more

Why we need a statutory Prevent strategy in schools

From July 2015 onwards, the British government’s counter-extremism strategy Prevent became statutory for public bodies, including schools, colleges and universities. This was followed by up a speech at a school in Birmingham by David Cameron that signaled a ramping up of counter-extremism efforts across the board, including in the education sector.

In case some of you are in doubt about the importance of tackling extremism in the education sector, a letter published by the Independent offered all the proof one needs. It made a number of misleading assertions about Prevent whilst calling for it to be scrapped, and was signed by various academics and students from across the UK.

Ironically titled ‘PREVENT will have a chilling effect on open debate, free speech and political dissent’, the letter was also signed by a number of extremists including members of the fascist and theocratic group Hizb ut Tahrir (Reza Pankhurst) that seeks to create a global Islamic state that would murder homosexuals and ex-Muslims, whilst rendering non-Muslims and women second class citizens.

It includes notorious hate preachers such as Haitham al Haddad who promotes FGM and believes Jewish people are the descendants of apes and pigs. [Left Foot Forward] Read more

22 July 2015

Only Muslim 7/7 bomb survivor Sajda Mughal reveals mums are oblivious to extremism in Islam

The only Muslim survivor of the devastating 7/7 London bombings revealed that mothers in the Islamic community are often completely oblivious to extremism, during an appearance on Lorraine earlier today.

Sajda Mughal explained to host Fiona Phillips that she now dedicates her life to combating radicalisation and often finds that Muslim mothers are completely unaware of groups like ISIS.

"I work with these women on a daily basis because they are the centre of Muslim families," she said. "But most of them have never heard of the Islamic State. It's actually quite shocking!

"Quite recently, I gave a talk at a hall packed with Muslim mothers and honestly, only about 4% of them knew about Islamic extremism. They are just not aware - I think it's because there is a lack of education. [Daily Mirror] Read more

Pakistan Supreme Court suspends Asia Bibi death sentence

The Supreme Court in Pakistan has suspended the execution of a Christian woman convicted of blasphemy.

Asia Bibi, who has been on death row for nearly five years, was given leave to appeal. No hearing date was set.

She denies insulting the Prophet Mohammed, saying her Muslim accusers were acting on a personal grudge.

Blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue in Pakistan - critics argue laws are frequently misused to settle personal scores, often targeting minorities.

The BBC's Shaimaa Khalil in Islamabad says this is the first time in the case that there has been a glimmer of hope for Asia Bibi. [BBC] Read more

Britain is right to cut out the Islamist cancer

Islamic extremism is a cancer that is spreading around the world, claiming innocent lives from Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, here in the US. With every passing year, an increasing share of armed conflict and terrorism around the world is attributable to the pernicious influence of militant Islam.

Yet for more than a decade western leaders — conservatives and liberals alike — have united in insisting that “Islam is a religion of peace” and buying the absurd notion that Islamophobia is the threat we should worry more about. Until this week. On Monday, at long last, the British prime minister stood up and said what urgently needed to be said.

He condemned what he called “Islamist extremism” as a doctrine“hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality” and based on the conspiracy theory that the West is out to destroy Islam. And he boldly rejected what he called “the grievance justification” for extremism and the violence it spawns. [The Times (£)] Read more

21 July 2015

At last, the Prime Minister is listening to me on Muslim integration

I liked the Prime Minister’s speech on tackling the extremist threat and the failure of Muslim integration very much. So much, I could have written it myself.

In fact, I have written it myself. Week after week, month upon month, year on year in this very column. Those of us who are furious that a policy of cultural appeasement has been adopted towards people who wish to import attitudes and practices that are hostile to our country’s values have had a pretty lonely time of it, to be honest.

“Please don’t write about it any more,” my mum pleads. “I know you’re right, but it makes me nervous.”

Still, I keep going, because I know from your letters and emails how strongly Telegraph readers feel about a subject which, at root, is nothing less than a battle for the soul of the United Kingdom. For our right to be us. [929 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 77 votes] My argument isn't with you Alison, (why would it be) but with Cameron:

''He will play you, I, and the crowd for fools'':

He's an ''appeaser'', when it's leadership the country cries out for. And the recognition that Islam is not a religion, but an ideology, that seeks to impose its will on those countries short-sighted enough to act as a host for its covert agenda of infiltration and subjugation!

Islam is not, nor ever has been, some benign and honourable religion as perhaps Hindu, Sikh, Buddhism or Christianity are. History has more than once demonstrated that Islam is the ''Pariah of all religions'' and never to be trusted a single inch.

Cameron's CV: Short-sighted .. Appeaser .. and Weak ...... and ''Muslims know it'' and play on Cameron's weakness!

[2ND 74] I have been saying this for a very long time. "Islam is incompatible with European and British values."

About time that politicians agreed.

[3RD 69] Alison, a very disappointing article. Have you gone soft?

I have absolutely no faith that neither Cameron or any other Tory is willing to confront the corrosive effects of Islam in these islands. There is a total incompatibility of Islam with the United Kingdom and I say this as someone who is quite socially liberal in many respects.

Cameron has "previous" in making speeches on subjects he has no intention of addressing. This is no different.

Islam has no capacity to reform, therefore realising this should inform any strategy we devise to deal with it.

There's no getting away from it, it's going to be messy. [The Telegraph] Read more

Muslims in Britain must feel and act more British, says SHIRAZ MAHER

For too long, the British political establishment has been in a state of denial and disengagement about the threat of Islamic extremism.

It is an attitude that has been promoted not only by fears – however misplaced – about accusations of Islamophobia, but also by the belief that jihadism is a problem to be resolved solely by Muslims.

But David Cameron’s courageous and wide-ranging speech is one of the most significant recent interventions on this issue by a Western leader.

If his rhetoric is translated into action, then we can finally mount a proper challenge to the vile extremist Islamist dogma that is causing such misery across the world, including here in Britain.

.... The point about Islamist ideology is one that Mr Cameron has made several times before. It was at the heart of a speech to an international security conference in Munich in 2011, when he highlighted the dangers of ignoring the ideological roots of extremism.

Yesterday he went further, arguing that it is the intolerant, repressive dogma of extremist Islamism itself that feeds the unrelenting cycle of violence. ‘An extremist world view is the gateway, violence the ultimate destination,’ he said. [Daily Mail] Read more

Islamic State Is Not Islamic, Sex Grooming Gangs, Sharia Sportswear - One Month of Islam in Britain, June 2015

What follows is a summary of Islam and Islam-related issues in Britain during June 2015, categorized into four broad themes: 1) Islamic extremism; 2) British multiculturalism; 3) Islamic Sharia law; and 4) Muslim integration.

.... House of Fraser, a British department store group with over 60 stores across the United Kingdom and Ireland, launched a new line of Sharia-compliant sportswear for Muslim women. The collection includes unitard bodysuits and lightweight hijabs (Islamic headscarves) for women to wear during aerobics and swimming.

The move is aimed at encouraging headscarf-wearing Muslim women to exercise. According to Marie Claire, a monthly magazine for women, only 30% of all women in Britain exercise, but for Muslim women, that figure drops to 18%. The magazine says that many Muslim women do not participate in sports "because of the risk that their headscarves could become loose and fall off." [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Zurich pulls plug on Islamic kindergarten

Authorities in Zurich have refused to give the go-ahead to a Islamic kindergarten over fears it will be "too religious".

The decision is a further blow to the Al Huda association which had hoped to set up a private preschool for 15 to 20 students in an apartment in Zurich's Volketswil, NZZ reports.

It comes after the Zurich cantonal authorities also rejected Al Huda's plans for the school which planned to hire two kindergarten teachers, a part-time Arabic teacher and a part-time Quranic teacher.

In its non-binding ruling, the court said there was a lack of "clear boundaries" between the preschool's secular and religious teachings. [The Local] Read more

Mohammed Amin: Neutrality in the struggle against Islamist extremism is unacceptable

.... Reactions to the speech amongst Muslims have varied, as one would expect. The Muslim Council of Britain’s initial response is at this link. I was struck by the following extract:

“We worry, however, that these latest suggestions will set new litmus tests which may brand us all as extremists, even though we uphold and celebrate the rule of law, democracy and rights for all. Dissenting is a proud tradition of ours that must not be driven underground.

Challenging extremist ideology is what we all want, but we need to define tightly and closely what extremism is rather than perpetuate a deep misunderstanding of Islam and rhetoric, which inevitably facilitates extremists to thrive.”

I don’t think there is any risk of the government setting “new litmus tests which may brand us all as extremists” because it is not stupid and it understands that a litmus test which branded all Muslims as extremists would be worse than useless.

If the MCB wants to help our country, one of the most useful things it could do is to publish its own criteria for distinguishing between non-violent Islamist extremists (who are beyond the pale) and the overwhelming majority of non-extremist Muslims. [ConservativeHome] Read more

Lancashire Muslims ‘sick and tired’ of David Cameron’s pronouncements on home-grown Islamist extremism

LEADING East Lancashire Muslims say they are ‘sick and tired’ of Prime Minister David Cameron’s pronouncements on home-grown Islamist extremism.

Mr Cameron made a speech yesterday saying the root causes of radicalisation must be tackled and that many people born and raised in the UK don’t ‘identify with Britain and feel little or no attachment to other people here’.

Blackburn councillor Shaukut Hussain said every time this type of announcement was made the local Muslim community felt it had to defend itself.

He said: “I think he needs to be careful he does not want to isolate one community. We are British. Personally I am sick and tired of having to defend Muslims and my community. These extremists do not represent us. I do not feel I have to defend the actions of these idiots.

“Most of these guys have fallen away and what we need to do is to find a way of controlling the internet as that’s where the majority of brainwashing is taking place, not mosques, and I think he is wrong if he is trying to blame one community.” [Lancashire Telegraph] Read more

Malaysian activists question role of Muslim 'fashion police'

Women in Malaysia, long seen as a moderate Islamic nation, have been denied entry to government buildings on the grounds their skirts were too revealing, fanning fears of growing conservatism in a country with large non-Muslim minorities.

Prime Minister Najib Razak's reluctance to intervene on the sudden enforcement of a dress code, analysts say, shows the liberal-minded leader is unwilling to stand up to conservatives at a time when he is battling allegations of corruption.

Ethnic sensitivities can often trigger dispute in Malaysia, particularly as none of those criticised for their clothes was from the Muslim Malay community that forms two-thirds of a population of about 30 million. Ethnic Chinese number 25 percent, and Indians about 7 percent. [Reuters] Read more

20 July 2015

Cameron unveils strategy to tackle Islamist extremism

David Cameron has set out the government's strategy to defeat the "poison" of Islamist extremism.

He pledged to tackle extremist ideology and "the failures of integration" which he said had led to hundreds of Britons joining Islamic State (IS) militants.

Among a number of proposals, the PM promised to allow parents to have their children's passports cancelled if they feared they were at risk.

He also pledged to look at social housing to prevent further segregation.

The Muslim Council of Britain urged the prime minister to "put his words into action" and engage with "all sections of the community including mainstream Muslim organisations and those who have differing views". [2233 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 570 votes] Sick of Muslims playing the victim card. Nobody is accusing all Muslims of supporting IS; that's a clearly a ridiculous statement. What we are accusing you off is tacit agreement with many of the ideals & doing the square root of jack all to address it. This is your culture that propagates the belief that you're a Muslims first and a UK citizen second, not ours. Do something about it!

[2ND 493] Yasmin Qureshi said Muslims were tired of constantly being called on to apologise for the actions of extremists.

Apologise no, but there should be a minimum expectation that Muslims should be proactive in identifying and rooting out those who promote or propogate hatred.

With increasing numbers of British Muslims being radicalised, one feels the Muslim community can do more.

[3RD 466] No wonder many young muslims feel alienated and confused.

Trapped between the devout world of their parents, but living in a Western value society.

So either the Western world gets more fundamental or else Muslim society becomes more Western.

That means no veils in public, no Sharia law, no cousin marriages and no radical preachers either.

But will anyone have the guts to enact it?

[4TH 369] If you look around the world it's quite clear that generally people from totally different cultures do not integrate readily. Why are we surprised that this has also turned out to be the case here. We are far too keen to give UK citizenship and passports to people who will never truly be "UK citizens" in the full sense of that term. Just storing up a problem.

[5TH 343] There is a really obvious solution to the issue being addressed by our PM today. Sadly, that solution is the proverbial elephant in the room. Everybody knows the problem, but we're never allowed to mention it.

[6TH 323] If people want to travel to Syria and join IS, give them a packed lunch and a taxi to the airport - just take away their UK passports as they leave and inform them that their UK citizenship has been withdrawn.

Far better they are in Syria rather than the UK - persuading them to stay, or preventing their departure, merely keeps the problem here - IMHO, best they go.

[7TH 315] If Warsi and Qureshi are protesting Cameron must be on the right lines. [BBC] Read more

David Cameron extremism speech: Muslim leaders give their views on the PM's plans

I am concerned that yet again Cameron is conflating the issue of extremism and terrorism with those of cohesion and integration.

He says that Muslims are not doing enough to integrate and that risks fostering extremism – but just what is enough and how do you measure it?

There is also a contradiction between Mr Cameron extolling British values such as free speech and then suggesting that Muslims who object to gay equality are somehow extremist and their views should not be tolerated.

.... The worry is that the focus is on ideology as the primary cause of terrorism and radicalisation and that does not seem to tie very well with the academic research that seems to suggest that, in actual fact, the causes of terrorism are multifaceted.

There is a risk of over-simplifying the issue. [The Independent] Read more

Muslim charity should have done more to prevent extreme material appearing on its website, regulator says

An Islamic charity found to have material on its website that sought to legitimise the killing of gay people and encouraged the killing of Muslims in certain circumstances should have done more to prevent the material appearing, a Charity Commission inquiry has concluded.

The Charity Commission opened a statutory inquiry into the Islamic Network in August last year after the commission was made aware of material hosted on the charity’s website.

Islamic Network took down its website before the commission began its inquiries, but an analysis of the charity’s archived web data found statements that referred to homosexuality as a "sick disease" and said killing gay people was legitimate. [Third Sector] Read more

Cameron's extremism speech gets mixed response from Birmingham Muslims

Muslims in Birmingham gave a mixed reaction to David Cameron’s speech on tackling extremism, with some echoing his condemnation of British Muslims who had travelled to Syria to join Islamic State, while others argued that he was unfairly stigmatising people.

Below the glass panels of the Bullring shopping centre, Fatema Bandali, a 24-year-old architect from Birmingham, said of the young men and women travelling to Syria to join Isis: “They’re not practising Muslims.

“Islam as a whole is about brotherhood. These people probably don’t feel part of anything and are looking outside to be accepted. Maybe they felt judged within the community and there were expectations they couldn’t meet.” [The Guardian] Read more

The full text of the Prime Minister’s speech on extremism

.... But you don’t have to support violence to subscribe to certain intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish.

Ideas which are hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality.

Ideas which actively promote discrimination, sectarianism and segregation.

Ideas – like those of the despicable far right – which privilege one identity to the detriment of the rights and freedoms of others.

And ideas also based on conspiracy…

…that Jews exercise malevolent power…

…or that Western powers, in concert with Israel, are deliberately humiliating Muslims, because they aim to destroy Islam.

In this warped worldview, such conclusions are reached…

…that 9/11 was actually inspired by Mossad to provoke the invasion of Afghanistan…

…that British security services knew about 7/7, but didn’t do anything about it because they wanted to provoke an anti-Muslim backlash. [ConservativeHome] Read more

Countering extremism. Cameron’s “struggle of a generation”

.... Today’s speech builds on what has already been done, and sets out four key problems: extremism can seem exciting, especially to young people; people can be drawn from non-violent extremism to violent extremism; extremists are overpowering other voices within Muslim debate, and failures of integration allow extremist ideas to gain traction. It will be delivered in front of a largely Muslim audience in Birmingham.

.... In essence, there are three main elements to counter-extremism policy.

First, government itself must not patronise or share platforms with or promote extremist groups – and get on with barring extremist preachers and websites.

Second, it must ensure that other institutions face up to their responsibilities: for example, it is right that Vice-Chancellors should be chivvied into treating Islamist extremists on campus in the same way that they would treat fascist extremists.

Finally, it must work alongside integration policy more broadly (hence Casey’s review). In particular, the test of the new policy will be whether it practices what it preaches: whether, for example, people who support an Islamic state or Islamist enclaves are kept off public bodies, especially policing ones. [ConservativeHome] Read more