Nothing to do with Islam?

23 May 2013

3:53 PM

23 May 2013

3:53 PM

Immediately after the 7/7 bombings the then police-chief Brian Paddick told a press conference: ‘Islam and terrorism do not go together.’

Now, after Woolwich, the Prime Minister has said, ‘There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act.’

Even after all these years our leaders continue to make this terrible mistake. Politicians or police chiefs must not make theological pronouncements. Though undoubtedly guided by good intentions, their line does not help but in fact exacerbates a problem – on all sides.

There is a civil war underway in Islam which has gone on in some fashion since the religion’s founding. That battle is – among many others – a battle between those who read their religion literally and those who read it metaphorically. The vast majority of Muslims in Britain read it in the latter way which is why – contrary to the opinions of Nick Griffin et al – most Muslims noticeably do not go around chopping peoples’ heads off. To argue as Griffin does is ludicrous – an insult to our collective intelligence as well as our decency. It remains a fact that cannot be said enough that most British Muslims will respond to events such as those in Woolwich yesterday with as much abhorrence as those of us who are not Muslim.

But politicians should be aware that to enter the theological debate on this is to enter a debate that they – and the reformers in Islam – may well lose. The Islamic faith is undoubtedly and visibly dogged today by a resurgent, violent, fundamentalist strain which cannot be ignored. It is in control of a number of Muslim-majority countries (including Saudi Arabia and Iran) and it has voluble front-groups, representatives and apologists in the UK.


And here is the problem.  Islamic extremists like those who committed these horrific acts yesterday did not get where they did from nowhere. It is not just a serious misinterpretation but a mistake to think that what they did was – as so many commentators have said so hopefully – ‘delusional’ or ‘senseless’. This is to wholly misread the situation, replacing reality with hope.

The Islamist, extremist, interpretation of Islam might very well not be the correct interpretation of Islam. It is evidently not a good or nice interpretation of Islam. And it is obviously not the version of Islam which all of us who desire to live in a civilised world would want anyone to follow. But, to reiterate, we must realise that the extremists do not get where they have got from nowhere.

And here is the problem with politicians making any statement at all about this. Denying that there is anything ‘in Islam’ that might justify violent actions, although a nice idea, sacrifices truth for the sake of convenience. No good – in the long term – can come from this.

For the Prime Minister’s claim not only feeds the fundamentalists in Islam and a propensity for denial in other Islamic quarters – it also fuels those who will use times like this to blame all Muslims or indeed ‘all Islam’. Members of the EDL or any other organisation that wants to take to the streets or anyone who carries out bigoted acts of violence thrive exactly on such talk. They will think that they can see something nobody else can see – which everybody else is blind to and requires them to wake people up to. This is not a healthy attitude in an individual, and is a disastrous impulse in a street-movement.

Anybody can pick up a Quran and read a verse such as ‘the verse of the sword’ (‘slay the infidels wherever you find them’). Many members of the far-right as well as the terrorists have done a little or a lot of reading and noticed exactly such things. Both sides will read that Mohammed beheaded people himself and they will read that he fought in many bloody battles. They will also notice that he had some very unpleasant things to say about those who are ‘enemies’ of Islam. He did not, to draw one obvious comparison, always advocate turning the other cheek.

But anybody picking up a Quran or a life of Mohammed can also see another glaring fact – which is that although Islam certainly has many invocations to violence within its core texts and the life of its founder, it is also threaded through with calls for peace. It is a contradictory religion just as we are contradictory people. It is neither wholly one thing nor wholly the other. And it is the good fortune of mankind that most Muslims follow the peaceable side of their religion rather than the side of the sword.

Dealing with the underlying theological issues of Islam is going to take a long time. It will outlast most of us.  But the work is underway. One of the greatest honours and pleasures of my life in recent years has been getting to know some of the exceptionally brave and principled individuals who are leading this vital fight within their faith.

But those who pretend that the problems are not there do not help these reformers. They hinder them.  And along the way they enrage those who would lump even the greatest reformer in with the worst jihadist.

So what is a Prime Minister to do?  It has long been my belief that politicians should not talk about this at all. They should not talk about theology.  Instead of saying what the Quran is or isn’t, or what Islam is or isn’t, they should simply say what British citizens should and should not do, explain what rights we all share and punish our collective enemies. As I have said a thousand times for more than a decade – our societies cannot and must not get caught into the civil war within Islam. To make any theological pronouncement is to get caught in that war.

We must simply state and restate what our own principles are and what British people of all faiths can expect when they live here. And as for the Islamic reformers?  We must not downplay the challenges they face. We must simply be good to them, be kind to them, and wish them well.

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Show comments
  • johnrwalsh

    Their was a peaceful side to fascism as well they built the
    first peoples car and invented motorways , they reduced unemployment and
    embarked on massive building of affordable accommodation, but no one disputes
    that it was just and right to wage a total wage against their monstrous
    barbarism ,murder and desire for world domination

  • johnrwalsh

    Ok Douglas, that’s all very well, but sounds like the same
    old mantra tidied up and sanitized.

    You seem to forget that the indigenous population of this country, by that I
    mean people whose families date back more than just a few generations and
    perhaps even longer, were not asked wherever they wanted to play host to the
    multicultural experiment, like most policy it was imposed on them .#

    They did not ask for a cultural change , (well except for a few left wing 60s
    baby booming flower pot men that is) , most were just ordinary people that
    loved their country and were quite proud of its achievements over the last five
    hundred years, or even if you were a bit thick , at least its part in world war

    Having been asked in the last 40 years to accept and praise other cultures
    often at the very obvious demonization of their own, making these cultures
    welcome often saving individuals and groups from oppression or even death in
    their own lands, they collectively feel from the white working class to the
    politically aware middle class that their country and its ever more elitist and
    politically extreme leaders have betrayed them and betrayed their country into
    the bargain.

    Everything to do with the White European past is hated and reviled by today s
    consensus , all of its achievements are rubbished as being the product of
    imperialism, and racial politics and that given those so called
    “truths” they should be lucky they are allowed to have any rights at
    all .

    It’s all right focusing attention on the obvious backlash from people like the
    BMP and EDL the latter which incidentally was started in response to Islam4UKs
    disgusting demonstration in front of the families of returning dead soldiers,
    then trying to demonstrate that they are the real problem instead of being just
    a symptom, but you are just doing the lefts job for them?

    You make very charming statements about reformist and moderate Muslims and I’m
    sure there are many, but we saw NO candlelit demonstrations from the Muslim
    “community” protesting about the slaying of a young soldier in the
    name of their religion and chanting NOT in our name , instead just a statement
    from the Muslim council of Britain regretting the incident and that it was
    against Islam.


    Since Islam entered the UK its members have demanded more rights and privileges
    than any other ethnic Minority religion.

    It has and is progressing and succeeding in some parts of the north of England
    and indeed south London whole areas and ghettos which for the most part are run
    on a sharia law basis, mosques building on a triumphalist scale continues
    unabated throughout the country and indeed the whole of western Europe while no
    other ethnic minority religion has even began to compete.

    Atrocities committed in its name from the murder of Dutch politicians to the
    bombings both in America and Europe, including the UK, need no explanation here
    , grooming of young vulnerable white girls from questionable backgrounds have
    been committed by obviously Muslim men of and otherwise “moderate ”
    disposition , yet is played down by the media to “some British men from
    the Asian community so as not to offend .

    It seems that white people are/ have become less than playthings for these
    wonderful people apt to be murdered at will, blown up at leisure and dominated all
    in the shadow of a giant mosque with a wailing minaret in their own country and
    the land of their ancestors.

    Do you not think therefore that many people would be slightly angry at the attention,
    concessions , excuses and politically correct apologists for these brutal
    seemingly ungrateful people with a cult of utter submission to the 4th century,
    with hate preaching imams which our government cannot even deport, while being
    vilified themselves for being racists , white trash, knuckle driving white van men
    , hooligans and little Englanders.

    In fifty years’ time these Muslim areas and their populations will have enough
    political clout to install a large number of Muslim MPs to the commons, after
    which in another 30 years or so they will lobby for their own autonomy,
    probably in the north, almost certainly some of these “MPs” will be
    Islamic radicals, I don’t think I need to tell you what the likely outcome of
    that will be ? something like India I suspect ?

    So when these people who in your words “think they know something that
    everybody else doesn’t” to use another fundamentalists words ,Oliver
    Cromwell ” Beg you from the bowels of Christ you may be mistaken ?

    Personally I feel the situation is more akin to the small child at the end of
    the old fable of the Kings New Clothes”.

    “Father? ” why is the king naked” ?

    We need our leaders to start saying it how it is and not how
    they wish it to be!

    John Lawson Walsh


  • NelRow23

    Excellent article. Venerating the Koran as the inerrant word of God is intrinsically problematic. It requires Islamic clerics to make all sorts of linguistic somersaults and contortions in order to present the Koran as a book of peace. Politicians should thus steer clear of Islamic theology and simply state the shared values and laws of our secular (in practice, albeit theocratic in ceremony) state when condemning acts of violence committed in the name of Islam.

  • AlexanderGalt

    On this point there’s quite a funny post which compares the honesty of the jihadi with the mendacity of our primeminister. It’s called: An Utter Perversion of the Truth” at:

  • Roy

    To assume most Muslims read their religion metaphorically still doesn’t give the government of the UK a carte blanche legal right for them to settle here. In fact, if even a small minority read the Koran literally, why should we take the risk of these becoming terrorists?

    • Charlie97

      I read the Qur’an metaphorically. You are right – some of my co-religionists read the Qur’an literally. In order to eliminate the risk that a small number of those that read it literally become terrorists, what do you propose? What do you suggest happen to me and my children given that I am very happy here, do not pose a threat and am amongst those that provide an important service to society?

      • Daniel Maris

        Can you refer us to a Muslim cleric who advises believers to read the Koran metaphorically. Personally, I’ve never heard of one. Not to say there isn’t one – just it would be interesting to see how mainstream they are.

      • Roy

        I’m sorry to say this, Charlie97, but you should not have been allowed through the border in the first place. Neither should the several million of you that have been allowed entry over the last few decades. The English people don’t want you, don’t need you, and don’t want to take the risk that your clans people invoke.

        • Charlie97

          Well, I was born here in the 1970s, so I consider myself to be British. I just happen to believe in a different God from you, but otherwise, I am just like you. I do, however, want to thank you for referring to ‘us’ as clans, and not tribes. You’re a progressive sort of chap, aren’t you?

          • Andy M

            Can I just take the time to apologise on behalf of Roy for his statement that you should not have been allowed through the border in the first place. I am against immigration at the present time, because we, as a country, are overcrowded. I think that we have already been enriched vastly by other cultures as a result of immigration over the past half-century and we have benefitted enough from this and now need to close the door for a while to allow our country to settle and evaluate how much space we truly have left. I also feel because the national birthrate is lowering and immigrant birthrates are skyrocketing this will lead to the inhabitants on Britain being the minority, just as in London they already are.

            However, this kind of “you should not have been allowed through the border in the first place” comment is unhelpful to those of us who want to criticise Islam and/or oppose immigration in a legitimate, credible manner. It simply makes people think that being anti-immigration is to harbour these BNP-type opinions with no intellect or rational thought behind them.

            As you confirmed, you are not a newcomer to this country and you were infact born here. I hope Roy feels suitably embarrassed now.

            That said, I do question how many people are level-headed like you and read the Qur’an metaphorically. I think that because you were born in this country when there was not such a PC atmosphere and where minorities attempted to integrate rather than live separate lives, you grew up in a different way to that which those of Islamic faith are growing up in today (particularly those who are either immigrants or have relitively recently migrated parents). I think the current climate is fostering a radical element in Islamic society, far more prevalent than it was previously.

            • Charlie97

              Hi Andy – thank-you for your words. Honestly, I write on this board not because I want to, but to try to at least bring a counter-argument. I hadn’t thought about it really before, but I think you’re right (re: your first paragraph). I want to try and answer the question in your last paragraph. Obviously, I only have my own life experience to draw upon, but here it is:

              Rather than British, I actually feel English, and have a deep love for my country. I think back to all the people I know (non-white, British born) and (I think that) I am in a minority, in that respect. Most have a cultural affiliation with the birth-place of their parents (Norman Tebbit’s cricket test and all that – he was actually right about that). Now, of all the Muslim people I have met and know (probably about 400-500, about the same sample size as studies quoted in the DT), the vast majority will be well-adjusted, normal, non-religious people, who just want to get on in life, like the rest of us. I know a smaller proportion, who are more interested in their religion, who like me, balance the requirements of our faith with living in this country. Who have been taught Islam from a classical perspective. Then, there are those who have been taught Islam from a Wahhabist perspective, who harbour views that are anathema to the majority – the smallest number by far, but increasing. What I have witnessed time and again, is that in youth, people may have a zeal for Wahhabist Islam that then peters out as people get older, wiser, more pragmatic, and children (perhaps like the anti-establishment tendencies that we see from some of our youth at university). I, as a youngster, heard many lectures (mainly whilst at university) from various groups such as HT, Wahhabis, radicals and what I deem to be classicists. I was drawn to the latter. Some may not be. I feel, in my experience, that if the authorities really want to clamp down, then they should really target the university campuses. Part of me feels that university should allow the discussion and inquiry of all controversial things, but this should be in the format of debate rather than lectures (Oxford Union style), but that is for another day.

              Finally – please do not apologise for him. A man with manners would apologise, if he felt the need. If he does not feel sorry, then he won’t. But I thank you for your humanity.

  • simontmn

    Very well said. Entirely agree.

  • Hari

    Good old fashioned liberalism makes good sense.

    • Andy M

      What, good old fashioned liberalism such as allowing an open-door policy on immigration so we overcrowd the country and don’t know who we have coming here? Or the good old fashioned liberalism that allows Islamic extremists the freedom to set up camp and start a terrorist breeding camp in our own country, but can’t be deported because of their ‘human rights’? Or the good old fashioned liberalism that means you and I can’t criticise someone’s religion if they are a minority by labelling it racism or Islamophobia, but allows us to criticise all other religions in a huge double-standard? Or maybe it’s the good old fashioned liberalism whereby people can protest on our most sacred of national events, burning poppies and the like, and we protect their right to do it, yet if anyone attempts to burn a Qur’an there is outrage. Which of these good old fashioned liberalism definitions best fits the ‘good sense’ you describe?

      I don’t recognise any other kind of liberalism other than the one that has allowed all the above to happen.

      • Hari

        I was agreeing with the point of the article that ‘to make any theological pronouncement is to get caught in that war’. The only crime that should be noticed here is a brutal murder – it is unwise to begin to say what Islam is and what Islam isn’t when there are so many different factions to it. Religion should be outside of politics and the law.

        • Andy M

          Yes, I know what you were doing. The irony is that Douglas Murray is fibbing saying he has been saying this for a decade. Infact he’s been doing exactly what you are agreeing with him that we shouldn’t do. Just search for his IQ2 debate ‘Is Islam a Religion of Peace?’ on YouTube and you’ll see he has been very clear on what he thinks Islam is and Isn’t. I happen to completely agree with him entirely, but it seems he has changed his view all of a sunnen. There are plenty of posts on here giving detailed reasons why it is essential to critique Islam and define exactly what it is and isn’t.

  • Tory_High_Command

    About 180,000 Muslims in the UK positively support the use of terrorism by Muslims in the UK. And about 750,000 are sympathetic to it.

    It may not be all Muslims but it seems to me that it is such a large number that all Muslims must be considered to be potentially a danger to our security.

    • MellorSJ

      And these numbers came from?

    • Charlie97

      Absolute codswallop.

    • anotherjoeblogs

      unadulterated codswallop. the figures are much higher than these.

  • Dogsnob

    Not buying any of this Mr Murray. Think of it in practical terms: 25 years ago, this debate would have been preposterous – people would have laughed were they to be told of the events in which we have been immersed.

    In 25 years time, a reciprocal gulf of belief will pertain; the demographic trend will have made all of this a distant and superfluous memory.

    But let’s all keep on talking pretty whilst the gulf consolidates.

  • John Stephenson
    • Augustus

      The situation the West finds itself in with regard to the Arab-Muslim world is to a large extent, ironically, the result of its own guilt-ridden attitude and political correctness. This state of mind, or multiculturalism, gravely inhibits a realistic assessment of what has followed since 9/11. It is pathetic how a guilt-ridden West seeks to placate the Arab-Muslim world. Islamists are at war, and the West needs to respond accordingly.

  • john pandya

    The low Point was the british film production of James bond, when 007
    teamed up with Taliban (Timothy Dalton in the lead…)” to fight the enemies of Islam”
    if i recall correctly it was called “The living daylights”…
    That film underlined very appropriately the British thinking in those days when any phsycopath from Taliban was welcomed as a freedom figher in the U.K. and London

    began to be called ” Londonistan ”
    Little did they know what they were hatching ….
    OH…how embarrasing this must be to salzman/ Broccoli Team now….

  • IftikharA

    The true honest practicing Muslims were all absolutely shocked and
    remorseful about what happened in Boston and Woolwich. This is a huge tragedy
    and a loss for all as humanitarians. This is so sad. Muslim community
    unconditionally condemns and repudiates the bombings that took place in Boston
    and brutal killing of a British soldier. We share the pain of fellow Americans
    and Brits and express our sincere condolences to the families and friends of
    those who were killed or injured in this vicious attack. The killing of
    innocents can never be justified. And, it is our hope that the perpetrator(s)
    of this horrible act soon be apprehended and brought to justice. There is about
    1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and how many commit atrocities like this? And
    last time I checked the Aurora shooter’s and the Sandy Hook shooter’s religious
    beliefs were not publicized and connected to their acts. Religion is only an
    important factor when its not Christian.

    It seems the victim was a soldier. Does that make any
    difference? It seems the two assassins did not try to escape, and the police
    when the arrived shot them both. So the perpetrators were both prosecuted to the
    full extent lawlessly. I go only by what has been reported on the TV news, but
    summary justice has no place in civilized society whoever does it and whether by
    machete or by drones. Two wrongs do not make a right. We are not the USA.
    Criminals must be brought to trial, not arbitrarily murdered.

    Terrorism and sexual grooming is nothing to do with Masajid, Imams and Muslim schools. Those Muslim youths who have been involved in terrorism and sexual grooming are the product of western education system which makes a man stupid, selfish and corrupt. They find themselves cut off from their cultural heritage, literature and poetry. They suffer from identity crises and I blame British schooling.
    Masajid, Imams, Muslim schools and Madrassas are not teaching hatred against
    non-Muslims. They teach Muslim children that homosexuality is a sin. This does
    not mean that they are teaching hatred.

    Why is the NATO merrily slaughtering thousands of innocent
    people and children every week with these drones and not called to heel? Why is
    the mass scale of these daily atrocities and carnage never reported and just
    callously written off as collateral damage? This not a war on terrorism at all,
    and its more than blatant bullying. This actually IS terrorism. And the worst of
    it is that our government despite all the death and destruction, are happy to
    stain their hands with the blood of collateral damage too. Its all so horribly
    wrong! And this is what gives fuel to terrorists and the real reason they hate
    the west. Thousands of innocent children and women killed by these.

    A vast majority of people in this world just want to live
    their lives with their families and friends, and don’t give a hoot about what
    other people do, as long as they can go on with their families and friends. I
    find it almost impossible to believe that most Muslims want to kill people who
    don’t share their views. The matter at hand is how to change the mind-set of
    people so a higher percentage does not turn to violence. One should not lump all
    individuals of any particular Faith in with the violent actions of a few
    misguided individuals who USE Religion to justify their violent actions. Every
    now and then a Muslim kills in the US and some people jump on ALL Muslims, as
    though WHITES, CHRISTIANS or otherwise, do not kill. They forget that non-Muslim killing far outnumbers Muslim killing in the US. They call for the expulsion of
    Muslims. The BEST SOLUTION would be for all FOREIGNERS to go back to their roots and return the country to the original AMERICAN NATIVES. Is this not a FAIR
    PROPOSAL? LOL! You white Christians have destroyed the Native Americans and it is only fair and right that YOU be destroyed by other communities.

    The IRA was a TERRORIST organization who bombed schools
    full of children, massacred innocents and put bombs in busy London subway
    stations …oh, and thy were all “devout” Roman Catholics … many
    Catholics were blamed for this and generalized as terrorists? ..I’m just saying.
    Iftikhar Ahmad
    London School of Islamics Trust

    • Andy M

      Stop reposting your Islamic apologist propaganda. It was nonsense the first time.

    • john pandya

      So in your own way you are also blaming west only for terrorism…….
      IN any case its the same old tiresome Argument from you Islamists

    • Fasdunkle

      IftikharA, why do you post your islamic supremacist crap all over the internet? All you want is for muslim ghettos and state funded muslim only schools to churn out more islamic supremacists like you.

    • Augustus

      The absurdity and the danger of not describing so many instances of the Islamic jihad is a failure by governments of major proportions, and not being willing to take preemptive action against its perpetrators suggests it will grow and grow, not diminish, and not cease to threaten all of us in our homeland and in the world. The Islamic jihad began in the seventh century and has not ended since then. Our democracy and the future of Western civilization depends on conducting a war to end the current aspects of it until today’s Muslims conclude that jihad, as a religious duty, is too painful to pursue. That’s how this war will end.

      • john pandya

        AMEN….i fear you are right….

    • global city

      who or which group has committed an atrocity in the name of Jesus Christ in the last 350 years?

    • Shoe On Head

      brain-dead delusional quarterwit.

      what is this place, flypaper for freaks?

    • DazEng

      Yeah…basically blah blah religion of peace…blah blah everyone else’s fault… blah blah what about everyone else?,,,blah blah IRA…blah blah blah.

      Please tell me honestly – Do you guys have an automated response to the violent acts of YOUR FELLOW MUSLIMS in the NAME OF ISLAM ,BECAUSE OF ISLAM?

    • Augustus

      “The matter at hand is how to change the mind-set of people so a higher percentage does not turn to violence”

      Well, one of the first things a government could do is to fine the parents of all young immigrants who go astray; rioting, looting, burning cars, mugging and stabbing people etc. It doesn’t really matter what their ethnicity is, they have not been properly educated in the mores and responsibilities of the standards of our civilization, and the parents should be made to pay for not adequately transferring those standards to their offspring. It is only fair and right that they too be punished for destroying communities.

  • john pandya

    The low Point was the british film production of James bond 007
    teaming up with Taliban (Timothy Dalton in the lead…)” to fight the enemies of Islam”
    if i recall correctly it was called “The living daylights”…
    That film underlined very appropriately the British thinking in those days…..
    Little did they know what they were hatching ….

    • global city

      He will have vocal support from the likes of Chomsky, Pilger, et al.

      • john pandya

        These Kind should be deported on the spot……
        They are the biggest evil our Democracies have created …

  • global city

    It is the same as the accusations of there being a ‘war on Muslims’. Just been watching the news and the ‘rebels’ are now being beaten back in Syria because Shia fighters from Lebanon are fighting on the side of Assad’s forces, often against Sunnis from, er, Lebanon.

    If we intervene, on either side, we will be accused of an attack, if we don’t we will be accused eventually of some sort of war of attrition on Muslims, but not stopping Muslims killing each other in what was always a sectarian war.

    Why do we shy away from rejecting these mad takes on history?

    • Charlie97

      I believe that there is no war on Muslims/Islam. There are only foreign policy positions that countries adopt in order to further their strategic aims. These positions are flexible (e.g. the relationships between the UK and Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi in the 1980s). It just happens that there are a lot of minerals/oil etc. located in Arab/Muslim lands. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how many people get killed in order for these strategic aims to be achieved. I strongly suspect that some on this board do not care in the slightest whether Muslims in far-off lands (whether innocent or terrorist) get ‘eliminated’ by unmanned drones. If so, they lack the basic humanity and compassion for their fellow human beings (very much like terrorists).

      As an aside – I wonder how many on this board are evangelical Christians, with the return of Christ framing their world-view? No return until the final battle with the Muslims…

  • crosscop

    “The vast majority of Muslims in Britain read it in the latter way which is why – contrary to the opinions of Nick Griffin et al – most Muslims noticeably do not go around chopping peoples’ heads off. To argue as Griffin does is ludicrous – an insult to our collective intelligence as well as our decency.”

    I’m not a great fan of Nick Griffin but I don’t recollect him saying that. Could you supply us with a source?
    BTW – I hear a French policeman in Grenoble has also been stabbed by a man shouting “Alahu Akhbar!” That, of course, had nothing to do with Islam either.

  • Andy M

    I originally posted this as a reply to Russell Brand’s predictable attempt to cover for Islam, but thought it was relevant to this thread so I have decided to post it here too:

    I have noticed a number of people trying to compare Christianity to Islam, in order to attempt to negate criticism of Islam, by claiming it is no different to all other religions. Please THINK before you write such things. Let me give you a summary of the two religions:

    Christianity: A reformed religion, due to years of integration into Democratic Western society. The violent or hateful verses appear in the Old Testament, which is largely UNPRACTICED and IGNORED by Christians. Extreme interpretations of Christianity remain almost exclusively non-violent in contemporary society and are solely practiced by tiny fringe groups such as Westborough Baptist Church, who, although nasty pieces of work, never commit any violence and stay within the bounds of the law. Mainstream Christianity in Britain is largely a casual affair, with the occasional service on a special occasion for casual followers. Even more devout followers, who are decreasing in number rapidly, tend to practice their faith privately behind closed doors. It is not perfect and has caused a lot of problems in the world in the past when it was powerful, but it is now benign and of little or no threat to anyone.

    Islam: The Qur’an, Hadith and The Sunnah are the main religious texts guiding those who follow this religion. The Sunnah being the text that is a manual telling Muslims how they should act. All of these texts are followed now in contemporary society without the dropping of various violent, intolerant or hateful passages and commands prevalent in each text. The violent verses also supersede the peaceful verses, as the texts have a hierarchy of relevance where the newer verses take priority over the older verses. Mohammed became more intolerant and bloodthirsty
    as he grew in power, therefore as the texts progress so does the violent and hateful content, superseding previous content.

    Muslims who are raised to be pious and devout (this tends to be the majority) are forbidden from questioning, disbelieving or criticising the word of the Prophet Mohammed and the teachings of the Islamic religious texts – if anyone is seen to do any of these things, or leave the religion, they are deemed guilty of apostasy, the sentence for which is clearly stated as death in the official religious texts that must be obeyed.

    The religion remains unreformed and unadapted to Western Democratic society, because it has only relatively recently arrived in the West. It has beliefs, practices and even its own Shariah Law, which are deeply incompatible with the Western way of life. If it were to integrate, it would need to go under the rigorous critique that Western religions have gone through – but as we can see by articles like this and reactions to criticism of Islam in the past, people are hesitant to critique it. The
    majority of those who practice the religion refuse to do this and many even become angry when criticism is made. Just take a look at the murder of Teh Van Gogh, who made a film criticising Islam and was killed for his efforts on the streets of Amsterdam.

    Due to all of this, Islam really is unique in its place in the West, because it does not fit in. Even moderate Muslims do lead very different lives to the rest of us and do ultimately believe in everything their religion tells them, if they are honest and true to the teachings of their texts they would admit this.

    Lastly, Sam Harris, a well-known Atheist, explained something about extremism in the following clip on YouTube. He said that religious extremism is actually not the problem – take Jainism as a leading example. The religion of Jainism “prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings and emphasises spiritual independence and equality between all forms of life.” – Wikipedia. So moderate Jainists will go through their everyday lives being reasonably careful to adhere
    to this way of life. Extremist Jainists will be ultra careful not to kill a single living organism. They will spend their day filtering water to ensure they don’t swallow a bug, watching every step on the ground because they don’t want to step on an ant – that is the extreme of Jainism, because the religion at its heart is one of complete peace and respect for all living creatures. His point here is that religious extremism is not the problem when the core beliefs of the religion are truly non-violent.

    He explains it better than I can here, so please watch this quick clip:

    So there you have it. Islam truly is not a religion of peace, nor is it integrated into Western Democratic society where it can be reformed into one. Until all Muslims allow the same rigorous critique we have applied to our own Western religions over the years, it will not be reformed and it will not be integrated. This is not just a problem of Islamic extremists. It is actually a problem we have with even devout
    moderate Muslims. A large majority of Muslims are, quite frankly, over-sensitive and over-defensive about their religion.

    • Hugh

      “The violent or hateful verses appear in the Old Testament, which is largely UNPRACTICED and IGNORED by Christians” Andy M

      Obviously, you haven’t noticed the Holocaust, two world wars, the genocide in Rwanda, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and various other occasions of mass murder and mayhem by Christian nations.

      • Andy M

        The Holocaust was a racist and xenophobic manhunt of Jews, blacks and homosexuals in the name of white supremacy and the creation of an Aryan super-race. Also – completely in the past and not relevant to contemporary Western Democracies as a case study either.

        Genocide in Rwanda – again, not a Western Democratic affair – backwards nations will continue to be backwards nations. We’re talking about Christianity in the West, where it has been subjected to rigorous critique and has been forced to adapt to civilised, Western, Democratic society. This is why Christianity doesn’t pose a threat here, but Islam does.

        Iraq was liberated, not invaded. Hussein was dethroned which is only a good thing, the people are now free from his tyranny and no more mass graves will be filled by the countries own leader. Also, you’re clutching at straws if you think that was a Christian war – it was a war on terror and dictatorship. If you don’t like it, clearly you can be against it, but to try and pretend it was about religion is not a serious view.

        More to the point, none of what you said actually relates to people practicing the Old Testament. The fact is, on our streets in the West, you don’t get many Christians believing the OT or practicing the belief, you don’t get them committing violence in the name of Christianity. Christianity has been responsible for many bad things, as any good historian will tell you. Nobody said it hasn’t. However, these things are not recent and/or not occurring in Western countries at present, whilst terrible things ARE currently happening in Western countries as a result of Islam. None of this makes any difference to the points raised by Sam Harris either.

        • Hugh

          ” terrible things ARE currently happening in Western countries as a result of Islam.”

          Not much, compared to the results of the Western invasion of Iraq, which unleashed sectarian violence between
          different branches of Islam. Not much, compared to the number of murders in the USA.

          • Andy M

            I note you did not say “not much compared to the huge mass graves filled by Hussein while he was in power.” Wouldn’t quite tally up with your agenda, that one, would it?

            Essentially your arguement is that because there are other incidents not carried out in the name of Islam, it makes it ok that there are crimes that clearly are. Such a bizarre thought process.

            Also, why are you quoting assault and homicide statistics with no correlation to religion? Is this the best you Islamic apologists can do?

            • Hugh

              “Essentially your arguement is that because there are other incidents not carried out in the name of Islam, it makes it ok”
              No, it’s matter of priorities and focus. It’s not because Christians carried out the Holocaust, the mass killings of European wars and the invasions of other nations that the way to world peace requires the repression of Christianity. Practical measures, such as the implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and, specifically, the nuclear disarmament of the United States and other nuclear states, should be a priority.
              Theological arguments about Islam by people who know very little about the subject are not all that helpful.

              • Andy M

                Yes, so being in the West and being threatened by Islam means it is our focus. Once again you try to pin global incidents on Christianity that are unrelated or irrelevant. The majority of religious crimes in Western, democratic society are perpetrated by believers in Islam. We can definitely address other world and social issues not related to Islam, but it’s pointless doing that first as Islam will simply take over our nations and render any good we’ve done in other areas pointless. Your approach is precisely the kind of naive and blinkered one Islam requires to further its creep into Europe and maintain its mission to dominate the world.

                Now I know you’re either joking or a terrorist apologist, if you think the US and UK should disarm nukes just as nations run by fanatic dictatorships are about to develop them. Yes, fantastic idea. While we’re at it why don’t we send them a copy of all our national security documents? Better yet why don’t we all start leaving a key to our house and a knife on our doorsteps? May as well really go the extra mile to endanger ourselves.

                No, people here get their information on Islam from intellectuals and by reading and free thinking.

    • john pandya

      Point taken…we have had plenty of demonstrations of why Islam is
      not a Religion of peace….thanks 4 the vid ..
      btw…what beer is that, that you have as an ikon…pass us some !!

      • Andy M

        Indeed – more than enough evidence to show Islam up for what it is!

        The beer is Peroni Nastro Azzurro, in its specially designed Peroni glass. I raise a glass to you from here!

        • john pandya

          cheers……mate…!! 🙂

  • Gaysian

    Stop hating on Islam, Douglas! The way those guys shave their balls and their a-holes is delicious!

  • EwanUzarmi

    How one defines the word ‘infidel’ is important: If it means non-believer, then all Christians, Moslems & Jews are members of the same group, and not ‘enemies’ of each other. If one takes it to mean non Moslem, then that changes everything. Of course all three religions have equal claim on the word. There is no logical reason why a Jewish person can’t shout “infidel” at a Moslem, although it’s unlikely one would be impolite enough.

    By the way; back in the seventies I used to work with a couple of Moslem guys, and they would describe the abuse they sometimes received as ‘anti Semitic’. Seems strange now, but the word ‘Islamophobia’ didn’t exist then.

  • Simon Morgan

    I have to take issue with you, DM. This form of Islam did not materialise out of thin air, it materialised out of those madrassas. It materialised from that ludicrous place called wahhabism. These are things that Muslims everywhere must firstly acknowledge and secondly address. If they can’t or won’t (and they haven’t done anything thus far), then surely they must all carry the blame for allowing this cancer to persist?

    • Charlie97

      Dear Simon, there is (and has been) a massive intellectual struggle against Wahabbism in the Islamic world. As a Muslim myself (in my mid-30s), I have been well aware of this since my days at university, as have all Muslims that I know. [It is also well known that the British colluded with Wahhab in the early days in order to bring down the Ottoman Caliphate, but that is another matter.]

      Wahhabism is mainly found in the rich Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and their funding of mosques, madrassas and literature has made it possible for their doctrine to spread, in preference to (what I consider to be) authentic Islam. Perhaps one should examine the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, and their tacit acceptance of these state of affairs, before suggesting that Muslims solely should address this.

  • john pandya

    Where ever there are islamists there is conflict , Terror and barabarity……..
    in Islam there is no tolerance for Indians , jews, americans, english, russians,
    French…….btw. Adolf Hitler was an admirer of Islam….he claimed
    muslims were far more consistent in thier hate for jews……that turned Adolf on !

    • Shoe On Head

      oh clearly muslims are aryan 🙂
      because how else could they qualify as being human.

      (shoe on head)

      • Bill_der_Berg

        Albanian muslims were ‘discovered’ to be of aryan descent when Adolf wanted to recruit them into the Waffen SS.

  • Mike Godfrey

    The one common feature that many religions share, is the ability to interpret their teachings in an evil fashion.

    Consider this — In schools and especially infant schools, we don’t permit unsuitable reading material to be available to 5 year olds for the simple reason its morally wrong. If we did there’s a good chance it will corrupt their morals at a formative time and create monsters that go on to commit heinous crimes. Maybe the Bulger killers were exposed to this at a young age and we all saw the result in graphic detail.

    Surely the same should be true of religion where literal interpretation of their holy scriptures will also create bigots, racists, sociopaths and terrorists. The Catholic Church were masters at racism & bigotry during earlier centuries and many a war was fought as a result but the underlying facets still exist in many religions today.

    Unfortunately religion continues to bring the very worst of human traits to the fore for a small percentage of their followers and its time we started censoring the teachings where they aren’t compatible with creating a harmonious and integrated society.

    If the BBC can censor Fawlty towers and other comedies on PC grounds, surely we should censor religious teachings where they advocate hate and terror crimes against other faiths or atheists.

    • crosscop

      That would mean the Koran being banned, of course.

  • robheggie1

    Can’t believe a man has been arrested for making “anti-religious” comments on facebook in light of this murder. Really? Being anti-religious is against the law? Well if that’s the case then we really are all up the creek.

    Just for the sake of it, I’d like to make clear I absolutely despise islam.

    • Fasdunkle

      Its the race and religious hatred act of 2006 – although that act also makes the koran illegal

    • Ron Todd

      If I said I despise christianity which one of us would get a knock on the door first?

      For the record I despise all religions that cannot give me reasonable proof of their truth.

  • ddayperspective

    I really do hate them islamists! Europe MUST throw them out of their countries! With force!!!

  • Daniel Maris

    I think things are a lot simpler than some people are implying. We are overcomplicating things.

    If the Pope was acting like he did in the 1600s, and was actively trying to destabilise this country and supplant its constitution, we would be taking proportionate action.

    We should focus on the issue of Sharia – because that is the badge of Islam and what concerns us. If someone wants to believe flew to Jersualem on a magic horse, that is of no concern to normal, sane people. But if someone wants to introduce Sharia law, then that is a matter of very great interest to normal, sane people.

    So our laws, policy and culture should be working energetically to prevent Sharia getting any purchase on any part of our society. No Sharia courts should be operating in this land in opposition to our courts. No children should be dressing for school in conformity with Sharia law. No people who support Sharia should be granted entry to this country – and certainly no Sharia supporter should be allowed to become a UK citizen. No Sharia-based schools should be operating in this country without rigorous inspection.

    • Karla’s Man


      No, no more new Muslim immigrants should be allowed to be naturalised to become new British citizens. Why would they ever be integrated, absorbed and assimilated if new blood from Africa, the Middle East and the Subcontinent keep on coming in?

      • Ron Todd

        As long as we are in the EU we will have ‘human rights’ as long as we have human rights anybody who can plausibly claim to be related to somebody already in the country will have a good chance of getting in.

    • Charlie97

      Daniel, I, as a secularised Muslim (like the vast majority of my co-religionists) agree that there should only be British Law in this country, and other systems such as Shariah courts or the Beth Din, should be outlawed. Having read many of your

      • mightymark

        Just so we are clear the Beth Din rules solely on religious matters where the national courts have neither jurisdiction nor competence. Thus it can rule on whether a divorce is valid in Jewish law and so, whether a woman can be married in an (Orthodox only I think) Synagogue. It does not presume to say whether a woman is divorced according to the ordinary laws of the UK.

        I don’t know if there is a Muslim equivalent but if there is it would seem unobjectionable. These are best seen as matters of private law of which there are many other examples – e.g. the rules of a club. These are upholdable in some cases under contract law but only to the extent that they are not contrary to national law

        As I understand Sharia, it competes with and is in many respects, at odds with National law of the UK. More importantly perhaps its adoption would I suspect, be seen as symbolic by the Islamists of their hoped for breach by Muslims in the UK with the rest of Britain. By the way, that is clearly not the case with the Beth Din which would not interfere in the case, for example, of the remarriage by a woman to whom it had denied a Jewish divorce to someone outside the faith, to an orthodox Jew but not in an orthodox synagogue, nor (I think) to a non orthodox Jew in a non orthodox one nor, to anyone, in a Registry Office.

        • Charlie97

          I know little of the Beth DIn per se, and so thank-you for your post. My understanding of some of the Shariah Councils that have sprung up (I know of one in East London) is that they deal pretty much exclusively on marriage/relationship issues. I have just visited their website, wherein it states that the, “The Islamic Shari’a Council was formed to solve the matrimonial problems of Muslims living in the United Kingdom in the light of Islamic family law.” This appears to be very much as you describe the Beth Din. So in reality, no-one should really object, so long as the councils do not deviate from their primary purpose.

          Clearly, if another law (be it Shariah or any other law) is being implemented that impinges on the jurisdiction of national law, then this should be outlawed. I cannot see any problem whatsoever. Characters (they really are caricatures, and bad ones at that) that call for wholesale implementation of the entirety of Shariah Law in the UK, should not be allowed to do so. It is completely logical that a society should seek to preserve its system of governance. I have asked this question a few times, (and although HT, Al-Muhajiroon and their offshoots have been proscribed), but why have successive governments allowed the likes of Anjem Choudary the space to spout his hate?

        • Charlie97

          I know little of the Beth Din per se, and so thank-you for your post. My understanding of some of the Shariah Councils that have sprung up (I know of one in East London) is that they deal pretty much exclusively with marriage/relationship issues. I have just visited their website, wherein it states that, “The Islamic Shari’a Council was formed to solve the matrimonial problems of Muslims living in the United Kingdom in the light of Islamic family law.” This appears to be very much as you describe the Beth Din. So in reality, no-one should really object, so long as the councils do not deviate from their primary purpose.

          Clearly, if another law (be it Shariah or any other law) is being implemented that impinges on the jurisdiction of national law, then this should be outlawed. I cannot see any problem whatsoever. Characters that call for wholesale implementation of the entirety of Shariah Law in the UK, should not be allowed to do so. It is completely logical that a society should seek to preserve its system of governance. I have asked this question a few times, (and although HT, Al-Muhajiroon and their offshoots have been proscribed), but why have successive governments allowed the likes of Anjem Choudary the space to spout their hate?

          • mightymark

            Thanks Charlie and I have read your posts with interest. I have to say I find it a little odd that you say you know little about the Beth Din yet were clear in your earlier post that

            “the Beth Din, should be outlawed” .

            I am not sure I wholly understand your postition on Shariah but I doubt there would be such a campaign for it by islamist radicals if it merely ruled on religious questions like Islamic marriage where in all probability, as you say, it already does rule.

  • formonitoring

    perhaps you could ask the admirable rep.peter king (NY), about islam, christianity and terror. you know, and apparently support, peter king, douglas – he’s the supporter of the (catholic) IRA who brought more sustained killing to the streets of UK cities than islamists have managed to. perhaps he can help you work out the role religion plays in terror.

  • Fritz123

    It has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with politics. The UK is at war and there is no safe homefront, what an illusion!

    You can insult the enemy but dont fool yourself. make peace.

  • DurkaDurka


  • Simon Scarth

    People talk about Christianity and other faiths in connection with this but there is a difference that is very important. To be Muslim you have to believe in the Koran, it
    total, it was written by God/ Mohammed so every word and instruction is
    perfect. To disbelieve (and Islam means to submit – to the Koran) is apostasy
    and is punishable by death. Ail Muslims must wish to live under Sharia law. The
    faith by every measure is a failure and the resentment that our western life
    causes is a function of that. The answers is that it is self inflicted but that
    would require rational thought , critical thinking and understanding empirical evidence,
    all precluded in Islam.

    • Charlie97

      Your post is correct in some aspects, but not in others. Yes, to be a Muslim, you need to believe in God, his messengers, his books (note: plural), the day of reckoning, and his Will (as it were). Yes, we do believe that the book is perfect. It is NOT apostasy to disbelieve in Islam, as the Qur’an states that, “there is no compulsion in religion” (2:256). Muslims can only abide by shariah law if there is a figure-head/caliph and a land over which the caliph governs. There hasn’t been a caliph since 1924, and so in in his absence, Muslims abide by the laws of the land in which they reside. Full stop. Those calling for Shariah to be implemented here in the UK should be stopped by the authorities.

      I’m not sure what made you write that the ‘western way of life’ fuels resentment on the part of Muslims, given that most Muslims I know are quite happy here (the few that are not, are akin to the older indigenous generation found in the Conservative heartlands of this country, yearning for a bygone age!) The proof of my statement, is that neither I, nor anyone I know, would swap living here for anywhere else in the world.

  • global city

    early Muslim armies did help to collect lost western ideas and science and blend this with similar from other parts of the Near East, but then Islamic ideology began to take hold of those older Arabian civilisations and led them to lose their curiosity in advancement for strict study and adherence to a single book instead.

    Islam has contributed little to understanding and advancement since.

    • crosscop

      “early Muslim armies did help to collect lost western ideas and science”
      Which were only lost in the first place because these same Muslim armies had over-run, sacked and in some cases ethnically cleansed Alexandria, Constantinople and a whole host of what had been Christian cities.

      • rightrightright

        I recommend Emmet Scott’s book “Mohammed to Charlemagne Revisited” which makes a good case that Islam, not the Germanic tribes brought about the so-called Dark Ages in Europe and that Greek thought was barely preserved by Muslims. An eye opening read.

        • Fasdunkle

          many of the “muslim” scientists at the time were agnostics or atheists. They wrote a great deal about that.

      • global city

        That is true. The manuscripts and books in the library at Alexandria was used to heat the bathouse when the Muslim army invaded, for instance, as it was said that what was already in the Koran was just repetition and what was not was blasphemous so had to be destroyed. Such is the ‘thirst for knowledge’

        This does not account for what happened to knowledge and its lack of advancement in the western portion of the old Roman empire.

  • snozzle123

    Call-me-Dave might have been reading Karen Armstrong who writes constant praise for Islam.