In remarks which will no doubt be shot down by the PC Police, Maajid Nawaz, a former extremist with the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, said on his London radio program this weekend that British Muslims needed to wake up to the realities of their own religious beliefs. When a caller asked if Islam really had anything to do with terrorist atrocities like the one seen on London Bridge Saturday night, Nawaz gave an answer that would have probably been called racist and Islamophobic if it came out of the mouth of a white Christian host.
“When the prophet Mohammed said: ‘I have been ordered to fight the people until they declare there is no god but God and Muhammad is his messenger’, that’s clearly got something to do with violence doesn’t it?” Nawaz asked.
The caller, unwilling to commit, said he would have to see the context of the verse before making any determination as to the meaning.
Nawaz conceded the point. “Ok, so let’s agree that context is important,” he said. “Interpretation is important, but let’s not pretend it’s got nothing to do with violence because making the argument that we need context acknowledges that we’re having a discussion about violence and placing violence in its context within Islam. That’s different to saying violence has got nothing to do with Islam.
“Why this is so important,” he continued, “is because when listeners hear Muslims like yourself say it’s got nothing to do with it, they think that you’re trying to shirk responsibility and sidestep the very important task that faces all of us to challenge extremism within our mosques and our communities. […] It sounds like you’re making excuses so as to not go about doing the work that all of us have to do, which is to challenge extremism.”
Yes, it does. But it’s actually worse than that. It sounds like Muslims place higher importance on protecting the good name of their religion than on ridding Islam of the very forces that are turning it into a vehicle for terror. And that’s the mindset that has to stop if they are to start attracting any goodwill from skeptical Americans who are ready to shut the doors to anyone with a beard or a veil.
You can call it racism and Islamophobia all day long, but you don’t see anyone calling for a Hindu ban. You don’t see anyone calling for a Sikh ban. You don’t see anyone saying we’ve got to stop Buddhists from infiltrating the culture. This is specific to Islam, and there’s a REASON it’s specific to Islam. Ignoring reality is only going to make things worse.