Muslim Wire

Linking Islam to terrorism doesn’t make you Geert Wilders

Posted in Politics, Society by muslimwire on October 20, 2009

I’m sick to death of Geert Wilders. His weird, Brylcreemed blond hair. His nasty video. And his pathetically hyped-up visits to London. Of course we should allow him into the country, and he should be free to say whatever he wants. But must we fawn and lay down the red carpet for the bloke just to get at Jacqui Smith? It’s true: forty Muslims held a horrible protest outside parliament when he was over last week. But let’s keep the extremists’ rage in perspective – earlier this year, almost a million Brits voted for the BNP (and the two groups, I suspect, are not entirely disconnected).

The real problem with Geert Wilders and his ilk, is that their hyperbole detracts from real arguments to be made about Islam and terrorism. “Fitna“, despite what Lord Pearson says, is not “a very important document” – it’s a simplistic and repulsive piece of Islamophobic propaganda. But it serves multiculturalists as well as it does those on the far Right.

A case in point has to be this Guardian article by Rizwaan Sabir, headlined “Linking Islam and terrorism is wrong”. Well, as Johann Hari wrote recently, no journalist ever writes their own headline, so I think we’ll ignore this one and concentrate on the content of the article. Sabir argues that the government’s strategy for Preventing Violent Extremism, known as “Prevent”, is counter-productive, particularly because information is being gathered about innocent Muslims. Fair enough. As Shami Chakrabati told The Guardian, to stockpile vast amounts of intimate information about innocent people is a recipe for injustice. But just take a look at Sabir’s argument.

Firstly, he criticises the government for thinking “that a correlation exists between acts of indiscriminate killing and the religion of Islam, even though it’s a well-known fact that indiscriminate killing is not condoned by Islam, but rather justified through a flawed, restrictive and manipulated understanding of Islam, unless you’re Geert Wilders”. Secondly, he accuses the government of disregarding “overzealous policing, disproportionate counterterrorism measures and a foreign policy” in favour of blaming the “mental condition of British Muslims”. Thirdly he deplores the fact that information on Muslims’ sex lives is being stored, before finally condemning the government’s “very sinister and dangerous game of guilt by association” which presumes that “if you are in contact with certain individuals, you have the potential to become a terrorist or have to the potential to adopt a violent methodology for change.”

I’m sorry, Rizwaan, but if this really was your “Eureka!” moment, I suggest you jump back into the bath. Yes, it is wrong to store to store intimate information about innocent people, particularly for more than a very short period of time. But to suggest there is no correlation between Islam and terrorism strikes me as a phenomenally disingenuous position to hold.

There’s about as much point looking for Muslim terrorists in non-Muslim communities as there would be looking for an IRA terrorist in a Protestant one. Of course the security services don’t view all Muslims as “innately prone to violence” (as one Guardian commenter puts it, “Straw man alert”). There is no deep-rooted mental condition in British Muslims, apart from the one which Rizwaan Sabir clearly suffers from himself – at least, that’s the impression given his predictable list of Muslim grievances. The government has a duty to protect its citizens. Since the predominant threat to our national security comes from extremists within the Muslim community, it makes sense that the police and Security Services look there first. It is, contrary to what Rizwaan Sabir seems to think, possible to do this without alienating the entire Muslim population of Britain.

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