Two injured souls struggling against adversity. Andrew Marr, obviously paralysed down the left side, and Malala Yousafzai with her slight facial disfigurement courtesy of the Taliban were rather a sad sight this morning as they sat facing each other on the Andrew Marr show.
Malala appears unnervingly confident in her public appearances. One has to admire her eloquence and maturity, but the superficiality of her quest is still the elephant in my room.
There’s something about being draped with a cloth that confers righteousness upon the drapee. When a Muslim sweeps into a room or Malala steps up to a podium swathed in fabric I get rattled.
Between them, she and Tommy Robinson have cemented a shift in the discourse, which has silently segued from a general disquiet about Islam as a whole, into the sugar-coated philosophy espoused by the BBC.
(The differentiation between the ‘moderate Muslim’ who is good, and the violent extremist who is bad, and not a ‘real’ Muslim. “AQ terrorism” they called it, before partially caving in and venturing “Islamist militancy”.)
The contention seems to be that it’s racist to criticise the moderate Muslim who is harmless, but it’s now okay, even in the P.C. world, to show slight disapproval for mass murder in the name of religion.
Malala represents ‘good’ Islam, although she has cherry picked the misogyny and other radical diktats of the Taliban against which to direct her campaigning, leaving the rest of it unexamined like the bad smell in the lift.
No-one in the West could possibly object to the apple-pie and motherhood matters that she stands for, nor could anyone deny the bravery she has shown in making her stand.
Any fule kno that women should be able to be educated, and that beheadings and limb-amputations are a bit unsophisticated. But as to the antisemitism that many moderate Muslims perpetuate by supporting Palestinian Arabs with their stubborn opposition to the existence of Israel and their incitement and hate-preaching against Jews, well, that’s something that has been brushed under the carpet so much that I’m thinking of that episode of the Simpsons where the lounge carpet has risen several feet, undulating, because Marge was on strike.
I daresay if Muslims en masse opened their minds and allowed their religion to modernise and progress then Islam wouldn’t be a problem. But then, would it be Islam?