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Mycroft
16th January 2006, 12:44 AM
Fears over radical hijack of imams' tour

Plans to counter the threat of Islamic extremism by sending imams on a 'roadshow' tour of the UK to explain Islam to disaffected young Muslims have been dramatically revised, amid fears that they were being hijacked by radicals.

Worries that the roadshows, costing 300,000 to 400,000, will be dominated by anti-Western rhetoric have prompted a rethink in the Home Office. A source said: 'The Home Office has recognised the need to bring in more mainstream scholars as an antidote to extremist ideology.'

One imam due to tour this month, Tariq Ramadan, has been barred from the US for allegedly using a 'position of prominence to endorse or espouse terrorist activity'. Ramadan has called the 9/11 atrocities and the Madrid and Bali bombings 'interventions'. Another of the appointed imams, Tariq Suweidan, has also been banned from the US. Two leading 'mainstream' scholars who have converted to Islam, Abdul Hakim Murad, of Cambridge University, and Hamza Yusuf, an American, are to join the roadshows with several other moderates, including Yusuf Islam, best known as the former singer Cat Stevens.

However, the move has led to a number of Muslim groups withdrawing backing for the roadshows, due to start in London, Glasgow, Sheffield and Cambridge. Privately leading Muslims say the government has scored an 'own goal'. 'The roadshows will just peddle a form of government-sponsored docile Islam,' said one. 'The government will sow mistrust and suspicion.'

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,1686726,00.html

What a bizare article! Either they fund militant radicals to speak, or they get accused of promoting a "docial Islam"! I guess they're damned either way!

Skeptic
16th January 2006, 04:13 AM
Yes, how DARE the UK government demand such HUMILIATING acts of docile behavior such as, for instance, not praising suicide bombers or refusing to call for the establishment of Sharia in the UK.

What does the government think these Imams are, some sort of uncle Toms? It should just give them the money for the "Imams' tour" and let the Imams use the money to praise the armed struggle against the infidels.

And they say "Huzpah" is a Yiddish word.

The Don
16th January 2006, 05:55 AM
I'm not in the least bit surprised. It would be the same if your parents said that you could have a party and that they'd pay for it. Then they turn around and say that there'll be no music or drinking.

It's not the party that you want.


It's unfortunate, but at the moment anyone who is willing to speak on the government platform and take the government shilling is likely to be labelled whatever the Islamic equivalent of an "Uncle Tom" is.

Skeptic
16th January 2006, 06:40 AM
I'm not in the least bit surprised. It would be the same if your parents said that you could have a party and that they'd pay for it. Then they turn around and say that there'll be no music or drinking.

It's not the party that you want.


It's unfortunate, but at the moment anyone who is willing to speak on the government platform and take the government shilling is likely to be labelled whatever the Islamic equivalent of an "Uncle Tom" is.

True, but for doing what, exactly? Not for claiming "we have discovered Islam is a silly superstititon and the west is superior" because that's what the government wants. Merely for actually daring to reject militant Islamism.

The Don
16th January 2006, 07:11 AM
True, but for doing what, exactly? Not for claiming "we have discovered Islam is a silly superstititon and the west is superior" because that's what the government wants. Merely for actually daring to reject militant Islamism.
It's the same as the anti-drugs messages in the '80s. The people who were willing to come forward back then (and who the British government were willing to give air-time) were lacking in credibility. Therefore the message is ignored.

If I were a militant islamicist (the people the government is trying to reach) or getting that way then the person I'd listen to has to have a credible militant islamicist background for me to be prepared to listen. Unfortunately, at the moment there don't appear to be enough of the right type of people ready to talk.

In the same way that you wouldn't be prepared to accept a lecture on Zionism and Israel by someone like myself who has no grounding or experience in the politics of the region. Unlike yourself I don't even live there.

Manny
16th January 2006, 07:32 AM
If I were a militant islamicist (the people the government is trying to reach) or getting that way then the person I'd listen to has to have a credible militant islamicist background for me to be prepared to listen. Or at the very least a person from a majority-Muslim country. They're got a bunch of white guy converts! Is there really not enough Arab Muslim scholars in all of Great Britiain who oppose terrorism to fill out this roadshow?

The Don
16th January 2006, 08:02 AM
Or at the very least a person from a majority-Muslim country. They're got a bunch of white guy converts! Is there really not enough Arab Muslim scholars in all of Great Britiain who oppose terrorism to fill out this roadshow?
Who are willing to take part in the roadshow ?

Who have sufficient credibility to make a difference ?

I honestly don't know...

The way things would seem, merely taking part immediately renders you inelligible from a credibility perspective

Mycroft
16th January 2006, 08:58 AM
Another take on this story:

The UK government is willing to foot the bill for anti-radical Muslims to tour and speak. How is that different, really, from the recent "scandal" where the US in Iraq was paying newspapers to run articles positive to the US?

The Don
16th January 2006, 09:06 AM
Another take on this story:

The UK government is willing to foot the bill for anti-radical Muslims to tour and speak. How is that different, really, from the recent "scandal" where the US in Iraq was paying newspapers to run articles positive to the US?
So long as the US government were open about it then I wouldn't have a problem. For example there are "stories" in the papers which are clearly labelled "advertisement feature". From what I've read, this is not the case with the newspapers in Iraq.

If the UK Government were funding the roadshow and not making it public that the tour were paid for by the UK government then it would be the same.

If the UK government were open about funding the roadshows then there's little or no comparison.

From the article, government sponsorship was clear

Manny
16th January 2006, 09:09 AM
Who are willing to take part in the roadshow ?

Who have sufficient credibility to make a difference ?

I honestly don't know...

The way things would seem, merely taking part immediately renders you inelligible from a credibility perspectiveI'm just trying to imagine a "roadshow" of American Catholic priests going out to convince fellow Catholics that not all priests are boy-diddlers and indeed that boy-diddling is wrong. If such a hypothetical roadshow were unable to come up with a sufficient number of credible priests willing to spread that message who were not, themselves, boy-diddlers or in favor of the practice, I'd say maybe the whole institution in that country has something of a problem.

The Don
16th January 2006, 09:21 AM
I'm just trying to imagine a "roadshow" of American Catholic priests going out to convince fellow Catholics that not all priests are boy-diddlers and indeed that boy-diddling is wrong. If such a hypothetical roadshow were unable to come up with a sufficient number of credible priests willing to spread that message who were not, themselves, boy-diddlers or in favor of the practice, I'd say maybe the whole institution in that country has something of a problem.
False analogy. If the roadshow was to educate boy-diddling priests, then that would be closer to the truth. As far as I can tell, the purpose of the roadshow is to reach those muslims who are "at risk" from turning.

The (large ?) percentage who do not advocate radical islam (and about whom you hear precious little because they're not newsworthy) don't need the roadshow.

It's like trying to convince middle class public schoolboys that gang culture is not the way forward and that education is the way to go (easy). Now contrast that with the same job in the inner city (harder).

Of course my suspicion is that you wish to label all muslims as dangerous militants who want to kill us all and impose sharia law. That is of course your perrogative - and you may be correct.

Manny
16th January 2006, 09:45 AM
Of course my suspicion is that you wish to label all muslims as dangerous militants who want to kill us all and impose sharia law. That is of course your perrogative - and you may be correct.No, but I wonder about the UK more than I did before. You could pretty easily round up such a roadshow here in the US, or in Iran, or Pakistan, or Afghanistan, or Iraq or Egypt or at least a half dozen other moderate Arab countries. It seems to me that either the UK is more of a terrorism hotbed than I was previously led to believe or that the UK authorities are looking in the wrong places.

zenith-nadir
16th January 2006, 09:52 AM
There is an interesting author who I saw interviewed once. When I saw her interviewed she was in a round table setting with a moderator and several North American muslim leaders - all male. The subject was Islamic extremism. They spoke about many aspects of this phenomenon and it became apparent early on that some of the "North American muslim leaders" at the round table didn't particularily like this woman and her critical thinking. You could almost say they began to try to silence her at every turn by interrupting her or derailing her. Yet everytime she calmly and logically handed most of them their hats. She knew the Quran better than most of the men did and the argument became so heated at one point that one of the men was purple with rage. It was hilarious.

Anyhow...her name is Irshad Manji and here is her website (http://www.muslim-refusenik.com/index.html). Her goal is to reintroduce critical thinking back into Islam - which is refered to as "ijtihad" - and she wrote a book on how she would like to see that accomplished. I recommend a quick read of her website if one has time.

geni
16th January 2006, 11:16 AM
Yes, how DARE the UK government demand such HUMILIATING acts of docile behavior such as, for instance, not praising suicide bombers or refusing to call for the establishment of Sharia in the UK.

It's quite handy when they say that in the open. Means we know who to watch


And they say "Huzpah" is a Yiddish word.

English has never accepted the idea that words can be said to belong to other languages.

Cleon
16th January 2006, 12:43 PM
English has never accepted the idea that words can be said to belong to other languages.

Heh. Neither has Yiddish. :D

SuperCoolGuy
16th January 2006, 01:03 PM
Anyhow...her name is Irshad Manji and here is her website (http://www.muslim-refusenik.com/index.html). Her goal is to reintroduce critical thinking back into Islam - which is refered to as "ijtihad" - and she wrote a book on how she would like to see that accomplished. I recommend a quick read of her website if one has time.

This lady is absolutely HATED by many Muslims. For them, she's lesbian, and that is a deal breaker. Anything she has to say, no matter how sensible or logical, is wrong because she likes girls.

And you can see what follows. Any Muslim that sounds like her MUST be sinning major league or simply doesn't not have much Iman (faith). Hamza Yousuf and Yusuf Islam are the best example for Muslims right now, widely popular, very moderate, quite articulate, very knowledgable, and somewhat vocal. The US won't let Yusuf Islam in, which frustrates me to no end. That is a major bridge burning right there and there aren't many left.

What the UK ought to do is let Hamza debate one of the more extremist imams, and televise it to the UK audience. Let non-Muslims see just how fractured and different Muslim beliefs are within Islam and let a sensible moderate Muslim take it to these guys like I'm sure Irshad has in the past.

Mycroft
16th January 2006, 02:33 PM
There is an interesting author who I saw interviewed once. When I saw her interviewed she was in a round table setting with a moderator and several North American muslim leaders - all male...

I've read some articles about her before, and she has some interesting things to say. It's too bad she's a lesbian, but I wonder if she could get the kind of attention she does if she wern't?

zenith-nadir
17th January 2006, 08:01 AM
This lady is absolutely HATED by many Muslims. For them, she's lesbian, and that is a deal breaker. Anything she has to say, no matter how sensible or logical, is wrong because she likes girls.Which is a very 10th century and intolerant view for people to take IMO.

Hamza Yousuf and Yusuf Islam are the best example for Muslims right now, widely popular, very moderate, quite articulate, very knowledgable, and somewhat vocal.The weird part is Hamza Yusuf Hanson is an American convert to Islam and Yusuf Islam, formerly the artist known as Cat Stevens, is also an American convert to Islam. What bothers me about "converts" is they didn't grow up in a Muslim culture, in a muslim country, and are therefore lacking a firm understanding of the realities on-the-ground in Islamic countries. While their views may be positive and progressive they lack the street credentials to actually "make a difference" in the Islamic world.