Friday, July 25, 2008

Mel P: Is it Islam or Islamism?

This is Melanie Phillips on the government's approach to the Muslim community on extremism in the Daily Mail (July 8, 2008):

'The problem, however, is that it doesn’t understand what Muslim extremism is. Believing that Islamic terrorism is motivated by an ideology which has ‘hijacked’ and distorted Islam, it will not acknowledge the extremism within mainstream Islam itself.

The reason so many older British Muslims are traditionally moderate is that they were brought up in the Asian subcontinent under a tamed form of Islam, deriving from centuries of colonial rule, which glossed over much of the teaching of the religion.

The Government believes that Islamic radicalism can be countered by teaching authentic Islam to Muslims. But since Islamic radicalism is based upon those very authentic religious precepts, this will undoubtedly have the effect of radicalising people who otherwise would never have thought in this way'.

And this is Melanie Phillips with Asghar Bukhari on Sky News when her book was launched. And just to make it absolutely clear, this is a correction to an article by Melanie Phillips from the Observer (May 28, 2006):

'The extract below may have given the impression that Ms Phillips's book connects all British Muslims to a campaign of violence, whereas she stresses that the vast majority are peaceful and law-abiding. She also draws a distinction between Islam, which should be respected, and Islamism, which, she believes, is the use of that religion for violent ends'.

So which is it?