The spirit of Thomas Bowdler lives on in government rhetoric.
Today, a new, namby-pamby, counter-terrorism phrasebook has been drawn up in Whitehall to advise civil servants on how to talk to Muslim communities about the nature of the terror threat, without implying they are specifically to blame.
Based on the government’s decision to abandon the “aggressive rhetoric” of the so-called war on terror, the guide tells civil servants not to use terms such as Islamist extremism or jihadi-fundamentalist, because this suggests a link between Islam and terrorism, but instead to refer to violent extremism and criminal murderers or thugs to avoid any implication that there is an explicit link between Islam and terrorism. But, implication or not, there is a link, and it’s rock-solid.
Give me a break – I’m not saying all, or even most, Muslims in Britain are terrorists, potential or actual – they’re obviously not, but some clearly are and, for the most part their fellows fail, miserably, to speak out against them. By the way, the term “Muslims in Britain” was a deliberate choice – they seem adamant, for the most part, that they don’t want to be “British Muslims” – and there you have one of the major problems with Islam in the west; a huge, and self-imposed, insularity.
Anyway, you don’t see Rasta, Baptist or Buddhist terrorists, do you? Nope, the only kind we have, apart from the very rare white lunatic like the Unabomber, is the Muslim variety, whether home-grown or not. Likewise in the middle east, where Islamic bombers and rocket launchers kill anyone who looks or thinks differently, and that includes other Muslim groups – at least, I suppose, they’re equal-opportunity terrorists. Oh, sorry, we’re not supposed to call them terrorists either. Damn.
At the moment, this limp-wristed guide is aimed at government and civil service spokespeople, but how long before an attempt is made to extend it to newspapers, and broadcast media? And can we expect, any time soon, the thought police to roll up and stifle barroom debate on the subject? (Well, always assuming the level of debate ever rises above the level of football, that is – time was when it did. Maybe a subject for another post – the dumbing-down of the British pub…)
In The Guardian, there’s an article, here by Jim Al-Khallili, professor of physics at the University of Surrey, about the flowering of Islamic science, and how much the world owes to it. Yes, indeed, there’s no arguing with that on any level. Well – maybe one – it was over 1,000 years ago, and pretty much sod-all has happened since. In fact, in many areas, much of Islam is still locked in an 11th century mindset, and therein lies its weakness – and its danger. The world has moved on – it’s high time Islam did too. In fact, Prof. Al-Khallili closes by saying:-
“I would argue that, at a time of increased cultural and religious tensions , misunderstandings and intolerance, the west needs to see the Islamic world through new eyes. And, possibly more important, the Islamic world needs to see itself through new eyes and take pride in its rich and impressive heritage.”
A sentiment with which I would whole-heartedly agree, though I’d delete the “possibly” – it’s a given that Islam, in general, needs a profound bout of self-examination, to maybe figure out why they are so deeply insecure, paranoid, and hostile towards anyone who doesn’t subscribe to the tenets of Islam (and even towards some who embrace a different flavour of Islam), and what they can do to change this. First, though, they have to want to. You question insecure and paranoid? Hmm… I offer you two words that illustrate these two facets perfectly – teddy bear.