Sunday 6 July 2014

Extreme confusion

Did you see Michael Gove on the Andy Marr show? Yes of course you did. Before he was wheeled in, Norman Tebbit and Helena Kennedy took a look at the papers. A  gentle disagreement over what is and isn’t acceptable with regard to Islam in the UK ensued.

Norman was looking frail beside the larger-than-life Baroness Kennedy, who managed to introduce the commonly held but false equivalence when defending Sharia law in the UK by citing ‘Jewish law’ and metaphorically squashing Mr. Tebbit’s protests by sheer force of her comparatively overbearing personality. 

Michael Gove was introduced with a promising fanfare - namely that he once authored a book warning the West about the threat of Islam.
“The forces of militant Islamism were determined to wage a war upon the West, which he described as The Conflict of our Times. He compared the Islamist threat with that posed by communism and that posed by the Nazis in the previous century. Strong Stuff.”
We were then entertained by the audio version of scary British Jihadi Abu Osama  speaking on BBC Radio 5 live.  To heighten the drama I transcribe it phonetically.
”Ah don’t want too coom buck too wha ah left behind there is nothing in Brit-tain s’ joost a pure evil if and when ah coom back too brit-tain it will be when the salaffa this islamic state coomes to conquer brit-tain und ah coom t’ raise the bluck flug of islam over Downing Street over bookinam palace over tower bridge and over bigben.”

Put that in your pipes you infidels. 

Oh, we thought to ourselves, in view of the fact that Islamism, Jihad, ISIS, Trojan Horses, Ramadan, Burka rights, Caliphates, Iraq, Syria and Islam-related affairs have dominated the news for the last goodness knows how long, at last we’re about to hear some hard-hitting words of wisdom from a strong voice, perchance a clamp-down on Islam-creep.

But no. That was too much to hope for. Michael Gove wears those specs hoping they make him look like a swot, but we all  realise that if he took them off he’d turn back into a little boy; but even with them on, he still looks like a naughty boy wearing man specs. Being in government has infantalised the lot of them. They’re afraid of rocking the horrible boat that they’ve created for us.

What we got was the usual contradictory waffle. We don’t want to stop people practicing their religion, he says. But when that religion is inimical to everything we hold dear yet stops short of violence, is that okay? asks Marr.  What about Sharia?  Are this-that-and-the-other illiberal cultural practices, which are part and parcel of conservative Islamic religiosity, acceptable? 

We need to draw a distinction between expression of deep religious faith, and extremism, says Gove, sagely. There’s  Islam and Islamism, a perversion of Islam!

Conservative religiosity will be tolerated as long as it stops short of extremism - direct advocacy or incitement to terrorism, perhaps. We all know that defining extremism with clarity eludes everyone under the sun. 
You say in your book that there’s a parallel between religiously conservative views and Jihadi views, prompts Marr. 

We draw that distinction. It’s perfectly acceptable for someone to hold deeply conservative views ..... but wrong for that individual to run a school, is the reply. 

What??  Oh, here we go. So ‘extremism’ doesn’t actually mean ‘extreme’. It means Jihadi? It means war-like? It means God knows what? 

Still confused dot com.

1 comment:

  1. Goves book seems to have been a brave portrayal of things to come re Islam, which made his wading into Home Office territory a worthwhile thing to do.
    Sadly-and as a teacher I have to remember this-he is a politician first and foremost.
    So-much as Gordon Brown wrote reams in praise of "courage" was always as a dispassionate and frustrated outsider-he could only observe its benefits because he has never shown any himself, in any walk of life whatsoever.
    Likewise with Gove-these facile fools of politicos know zippo about Islam...and would not have the courage to face it down, even if it had all been nailed to their skulls.
    As Paul Weller once sang-"what a catalyst you turned out to be"/light up the guns then you run off home for your tea".
    The murderers of Lee Rigby gave us the only theology lesson on Islam that we`ll ever be needing...Surah8/9 and those "sword verses" of theirs...
    No wonder the BBC and Guardian chose to cut them out of Adebolajos rant to camera( available online)...they simply don`t get religion, can`t understand why a holy book might lead to consequences like theirs.
    And Ed Stourton sure as hell won`t be able to enlighten us...time to find out for ourselves, dare I say?...


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