‘Where is the Gandhi of Islam?’ Charles Moore wants to know

“When Britain was afflicted by Irish republican terrorism, most Irish people repudiated that terrorism. It was nevertheless the case that the great majority of the terrorists – more than 95 per cent – were Irish, or of Irish origin, and they drew overwhelmingly on Irish people to help and hide them. This was not a funny coincidence. It was because the IRA preached a doctrine about Ireland and called on the loyalty of a perverted version of Irishness. Therefore, the words ‘Irish’ and ‘terrorist’ went together, hard though this was on the majority of Irish people…. So it must be with Muslims in Britain….

“We flap around, looking for moderates and giving them knighthoods, making placatory noises, putting bits of Islam on to the multi-faith menu in schools, banishing Bibles from hospital beds, trying to criminalise the expression of ‘religious hatred’, blaming George Bush and Tony Blair….

“If you look at the Koran, you will find many glorifications of violence. In Sura No 8, for example, God is quoted as saying: ‘I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the very tips of their fingers!’ This punishment comes to them for having ‘defied God and His apostle’. It seems reasonable to ask Muslims what this sort of remark means in the modern world….

“When did you last hear criticisms of named extremist groups and organisations by Muslim leaders, or support for their expulsion, imprisonment or extradition? How often do you see fatwas issued against suicide bombers and other terrorists, or statements by learned men declaring that people who commit such deeds will go to hell?… When did a British Muslim last go after a Muslim who advocates or practises violence with anything like the zeal with which so many went after Salman Rushdie?”

Charles Moore in the Daily Telegraph, 9 July 2005

Update:  See “We don’t need a Gandhi”, Indigo Jo Blogs. 12 July 2005