All Is Not Well with Islam in the UK, and Politicians Are Afraid of Taking the Steps to Make Things Better

June 30 2021

In his new book Among the Mosques, Ed Husain—himself a British Muslim born into a devout family—argues that “all is not well” among the Muslims of the United Kingdom, even if they are by no means the monolithically intolerant and dangerous group right-wing bigots would make them out to be. Freddie Hayward reports on a recent conversation with Husain:

In town after town, [Husain] found mosques that discriminated against women and taught a highly literal interpretation of Islam. Husain also came across books by authors banned in parts of the Middle East for being extremist, and mosques that conducted Islamic marriages without legal registration and the protections that come with it.

Husain believes it is vital that the UK discusses the issues around Muslims’ place in wider society. . . . Why, then, does he think these conversations aren’t happening? “I think people don’t want to be seen to be picking on minorities,” he replies. “That’s a good thing, but that impulse shouldn’t then end in a place where we can’t have free conversations in a respectful manner.”

“Neglect and fear by the center-left and right of British politics makes this challenge grow and grow, not go away,” he warns. Husain . . . believes Keir Starmer, [the current head of the Labor party], is “terrified” of confronting the problem, and that Conservatives are also paralyzed by “fears of being accused of Islamophobia.”

Husain calls for an “inclusive patriotism” flowing from a reaffirmation of Britain’s liberal tradition and concepts such as equality [of the sexes], individual liberty, the rule of law, and racial parity. These values constitute modern Britain, he argues, and promoting them will undercut extremist views.

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Read more at New Statesman

More about: European Islam, Labor Party (UK), United Kingdom

 

Is the Attempt on Salman Rushdie’s Life Part of a Broader Iranian Strategy?

Aug. 18 2022

While there is not yet any definitive evidence that Hadi Matar, the man who repeatedly stabbed the novelist Salman Rushdie at a public talk last week, was acting on direct orders from Iranian authorities, he has made clear that he was inspired by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s call for Rushdie’s murder, and his social-media accounts express admiration for the Islamic Republic. The attack also follows on the heels of other Iranian attempts on the lives of Americans, including the dissident activist Masih Alinejad, the former national security advisor John Bolton, and the former secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was held hostage by the mullahs for over two years, sees a deliberate effort at play:

It is no coincidence this flurry of Iranian activity comes at a crucial moment for the hitherto-moribund [nuclear] negotiations. Iranian hardliners have long opposed reviving the 2015 deal, and the Iranians have made a series of unrealistic and seemingly ever-shifting demands which has led many to conclude that they are not negotiating in good faith. Among these is requiring the U.S. to delist the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in its entirety from the State Department’s list of terror organizations.

The Biden administration and its European partners’ willingness to make concessions are viewed in Tehran as signals of weakness. The lack of a firm response in the shocking attack on Salman Rushdie will similarly indicate to Tehran that there is little to be lost and much to be gained in pursuing dissidents like Alinejad or so-called blasphemers like Sir Salman on U.S. soil.

If we don’t stand up for our values when under attack we can hardly blame our adversaries for assuming that we have none. Likewise, if we don’t erect and maintain firm red lines in negotiations our adversaries will perhaps also assume that we have none.

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Read more at iNews

More about: Iran, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy