Monday 30 June 2014

Myths of Muslim Britain

The other day, Craig examined a book written by a radio producer called Innes Bowen who turned up on  radio 4's “Sunday”. Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in BrentHere’s what she said re the Cardiff-born jihadi.
The thing that the people who go have in common really, it's a shared set of ideals. They're young. They're idealistic. And if you look at that video yesterday you can see in this case certainly not stupid, very intelligent young man, and on that video he's appealing to other Muslims to a sense of duty. He's making them try to feel that they have a sense of duty to go to Iraq and Syria, and that is the ideology which is inspiring some people to go.
As Craig says, that does sound a bit too ‘BBC’ for the likes of we cranky old Islamophobic bigots, and the fact that Peter Oborne gave it an admiring review in the Telegraph all but confirmed the understandable assumption that it was only to do with “dispelling myths” about British Muslims, as the BBC is wont to do, more fool it. 

Only, here’s a review in the Times by Dominic Kennedy (£) which gives a different impression:
A compelling study reveals that so-called leaders of the Islamic community are not only self-appointed but tend to come from marginal sects

There has always been a riddle about Salma Yaqoob, the eloquent former leader of Respect and Question Time panellist. Where did this fearsome political operator come from? The answer to that and other puzzles about British Muslims is in this gripping study by Innes Bowen about the rival sects in Islam.

Here the text fades away and asks you to dish out your dosh, which many of you won’t do, so here’s more.

“Ms Yaqoob, it emerges, was a member of Young Muslims UK, an Islamist group that spawned Liberal democrat and SNP parliamentary candidates. The group’s roots are in Jamaat-e-Islami, a political party that imposed Sharia on secular Pakistan.
Bowen is struck by the grip that sectarian groups with overseas origins still have on a British-born Muslim population that is growing in size and religiosity. So-called Muslim community leaders are not only self-appointed,but, as Bowen shows, tend to come from these marginal sects."

So if this review is anything to go by, and the strap line by the way is:
 "A compelling study by a BBC Radio 4 producer reveals that so-called leaders of the Islamic community are not only self-appointed but also tend to come from marginal sects with origins overseas."
Whaddya make of that? Did Peter Oborne cherry pick the only “optimistic” passages to suit his pro-Islam agenda
 “ ...there is no contradiction between Muslim identity and loyalty to the British state. 

...over time there is no fundamental contradiction between Islam and the modern Western state.” 
Or is this simply an example of people projecting their own wishful thinking onto whatever comes their way?

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