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A contribution from George Albion.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the country’s most senior anti-terrorism officer, has claimed that British Muslims should not be forced to assimilate into the British way of life.
He says that those who seek to commit terrorist acts do so out of frustration at having to hide their religion and culture and that the wider society should be more encouraging in allowing them to openly express that culture. He admits that his officers cannot win the fight against terrorism alone and that the general non-Muslim population should be far more accommodating in accepting Islam.
What does that sound like to you? To me, it sounds like the terrorists are winning. The most senior anti-terrorism officer is advising that society should become more Islamic so that disaffected Muslims don’t blow us off the face of the earth. That’s how protection rackets work. I thought the police were supposed to protect us from protection rackets. It’s becoming more and more evident that we need protecting from the police.
Assistant Commissioner Basu’s point that there should be religious freedom in a free society is of course, valid. He has a Hindu background. The Hindus have lived and practised their religion in this country for many years, and I cannot recall one example of a terrorist atrocity committed in their name.
As far as I am aware, Muslims exercise complete religious freedom in this country and are certainly not backward in coming forward to establish their rights. There are ample mosques, and there are no bans on the burka or the niqab, as there are in other countries (including some Islamic ones).
When it comes to culture, however, I wonder which Muslim practices Mr Basu thinks we should allow to be more openly expressed? Stoning of female adulterers? Female genital mutilation? Male polygamy? Forced marriage? Honour killings? Amputations of thieves’ hands? Beheadings? I don’t think even the most ‘woke’ individual could accommodate any of those.
The problem arises when religious and cultural beliefs and practices run counter to the norms and beliefs of the wider society. With Islam, the problem goes even deeper than that. We are not just dealing with a religion; it is an authoritarian, anti-democratic socio-political ideology, and its intent is to wipe away any opposition and become the supreme ideology in every country in the world.
This intent is inherent in Islamic teachings and is openly expressed by radical preachers. More insidiously it is being promulgated in secret in madrassas and other places off-limits to the general population. For me, the only answer is to be more assertive of our own British culture and values, not less. We should be able to assume that anyone willingly living in this country, regardless of their ethnic heritage, broadly embraces the values, norms and principles that characterise it. If they do not, then why are they here?
We need to draw a line in the sand before it is too late. My fear is that our legal, political and cultural institutions have no stomach for a fight and would rather appease. The freedoms of our liberal tradition can be and are being, cynically manipulated against us. No, Mr Basu, the fault is not ours – it lies with those who have failed to adequately represent us.