In an “Open letter to Tariq Ramadan” in the current issue of Prospect Magazine David Goodhardt rejects Professor Ramadan’s recent Guardian article as a “grievance-seeking, responsibility-avoiding diatribe”. According to Goodhardt, Muslims in Britain have never had it so good:
“Is there some discrimination, racism even? Yes, but there is far less than in the past and less than most other countries in the world…. The ideology of Islamophobia is a mixture of exaggeration (see Kenan Malik’s work on this subject) and a sort of perverted utopianism that interprets the initial suspicion (and sometimes even hostility) towards strangers found in all cultures as proof of deep hatred of a particular religion.”
Goodhardt refers Professor Ramadan to the cover story in the current issue of Prospect Magazine, a study of 7/7 bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan by Shiv Malik which draws the following conclusion: “Khan may have felt indignant about western foreign policy, as many anti-war campaigners do, but that wasn’t the reason he led a cell of young men to kill themselves and 52 London commuters.” But his lengthy article provides no evidence to back up Malik’s claim.
As is well known, Khan “martyrdom video” contains a clear statement of the reasoning behind the 7/7 bombings:
“Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support of them makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters. Until we feel security, you will be our targets. And until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight. We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation.”
Malik dismisses this on the grounds that Khan’s video also contains an attack on established religious leaders:
“Our so-called scholars today are content with their Toyotas and semi-detached houses. They seem to think that their responsibilities lie in pleasing the kufr instead of Allah. So they tell us ludicrous things, like you must obey the law of the land. Praise be God! How did we ever conquer lands in the past if we were to obey this law?… By Allah these scholars will be brought to account, and if they fear the British government more than they fear Allah then they must desist in giving talks, lectures and passing fatwas, and they need to sit at home and leave the job to the real men, the true inheritors of the prophets.”
How does this contradict the view that Khan’s murderous violence was motivated by anger against western foreign policy? It does nothing of the sort.