Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Our failure to confront radical Islam

Denis MacShane wrote in Telegraph The 10,000 Muslims in my constituency of Rotherham can only benefit from removing the dead hand of ideological Islamism – allowing their faith to be respected and their children to flourish in a Britain that finally wakes up to what must be done. Despite the efforts of extremists to prevent any sort of rational debate about the place of Islam in Britain, it is at last happening.

That is very good news.
A fight-back is beginning to reclaim Britain from the grip of those who refuse to acknowledge the centrality of British values of tolerance, fair play and parliamentary democratic freedoms – notably those of free speech and respect for all religions, but supremacy for none.
21st century values, but not 8th century ones.
Voltaire noted this attribute of the English three centuries ago, when he wrote: "If there was just one religion in Britain there would be despotism. If two, there would be civil war. But as there are 30, they all live at peace with each other.".... Where Blunkett and previous ministers failed to act, it has taken a young, devoutly religious Christian politician, in the form of Ruth Kelly, who knows the difference between private faith and public politics, to come forward and to speak en clair to organisations and ideologues who believed that their world view would – and should – overcome British values and traditions.
Ruth Kelly should be encourages, because there certainly are those that want to take the entire world back to the 8th century.
... Late in 2003, I made a routine speech to my constituency. It followed the murder of British and Turkish men and women at our consulate in Istanbul by Islamist terrorists. At the same time, a young South Yorkshire Muslim had gone to Israel and killed himself in a suicide bombing attack.

The two events led me to make a speech in which I said: "It is time for the elected and community leaders of British Muslims to make a choice: it is the democratic, rule of law, if you like the British or Turkish or American or European way – based on political dialogue and non-violent protests – or it is the way of the terrorists against which the whole democratic world is now uniting." I thought my remarks were banal. After 7/7, everyone used them.... Islamist politics is now one of the most important issues for the future of democracy. Getting the right answers will define the world's future. All main parties, other than the odious BNP, rightly shun Islamophobia. British Muslims will be welcome at Eid parties in the Commons to celebrate the end of Ramadan. But we have to find answers to calls for censorship, to celebrations of jihadist terror, or a religiously ordained world view that denies equal rights for women or gays here and in Afghanistan.

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