Ex­am­in­ing the Mus­lim Man­i­festo

The Church of England - - FRONT PAGE - PETER MULLEN

What is the burning is­sue in this gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign? Is it the deficit? Is it the NHS? Is it de­fence spend­ing? All th­ese mat­ters are press­ing, but our po­lit­i­cal par­ties have an un­spo­ken agree­ment not to men­tion the ele­phant in the room: the char­ac­ter of our na­tion.

Specif­i­cally, Baroness Say­eeda Warsi, along with other MPs, re­cently at­tended an event in Par­lia­ment to pro­mote a Mus­lim Man­i­festo put to­gether by the In­sti­tute for Mus­lim Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment. This man­i­festo de­mands that the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment should act in ac­cor­dance with the wishes of Mus­lims above all other considerations. Of course, if I of­fer you my own sum­mary of this doc­u­ment, I shall be ac­cused of mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion and worse. So let me give you a few quotes. Let the Mus­lim Man­i­festo speak for it­self. It says the gov­ern­ment must…

…de­fend the right to a Mus­lim way of life, in­clud­ing ha­lal meat; re­li­gious cloth­ing; cir­cum­ci­sion; and flex­i­ble work­ing to ac­com­mo­date Ra­madan and fes­ti­val ob­ser­vance.

That’s what it says. Now, may I at least be al­lowed to ask some ques­tions? Does it mean that all ar­gu­ments against the ha­lal meat in­dus­try, the burka and the niqab should be banned? Does cir­cum­ci­sion re­fer only to boys or does it in­clude girls as well – in which case it is prop­erly de­scribed as fe­male gen­i­tal mu­ti­la­tion? Again the Mus­lim Man­i­festo pledges to…

…sup­port ef­forts to ac­cu­rately re­mem­ber Mus­lim and non-Mus­lim his­to­ries in­clud­ing op­pres­sive and geno­ci­dal ac­tions against Mus­lim peo­ples by Bri­tish and Euro­pean peo­ples.

This point bla­tantly ex­presses the vic­tim nar­ra­tive of the Is­lamists, which por­trays Mus­lims as op­pressed by the West. Am I al­lowed to no­tice at this junc­ture that, while we are all urged to join in ve­he­ment con­dem­na­tion of the in­dige­nous Bri­tish and Euro­peans, no men­tion what­ever is made of the whole­sale ter­ror­ist atroc­i­ties be­ing per­pe­trated by Mus­lims on four con­ti­nents? Yes, yes, I know that not all Mus­lims sup­port ter­ror­ism. Re­cent re­search showed that only 15 per cent of Bri­tish Mus­lims are in favour of the bar­baric Is­lamic State. There are two and a half mil­lion Mus­lims in Bri­tain. What’s 15 per cent of 2,500,000? As the Amer­i­cans say, Go fig­ure.

… Com­mit to eth­i­cal Bri­tish for­eign poli­cies that up­hold the hu­man rights of all peo­ples.

What are th­ese eth­i­cal for­eign poli­cies? Un­less th­ese are clearly de­fined and ex­plained, we might as well be talk­ing about moth­er­hood and ap­ple pie. Does the de­mand ex­tend, for in­stance, to pre­vent­ing the de­por­ta­tion of known ter­ror­ists on the grounds that they have a right to a fam­ily life? I only ask be­cause this has hap­pened many times in the re­cent past. The Mus­lim Man­i­festo de­mands that we…

…af­firm the im­por­tance of faith schools within the over­all pro­vi­sion.

Well, faith schools are a fine thing. But are they to be­come train­ing camps for rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion, as hap­pened in the no­to­ri­ous Tro­jan horse episodes in Birm­ing­ham and other places? What safe­guards are there to be to pre­vent this dis­grace from hap­pen­ing again? I only ask. We need to be told. We are urged to…

…cel­e­brate and sup­port Mus­lim her­itage and cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions.

May we know whether th­ese cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions are to in­clude sharia courts? The Mus­lim Man­i­festo says we must…

…pro­vide as­sur­ance and ev­i­dence that for­eign fund­ing is not caus­ing or pro­mot­ing vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism in the UK.

What is this about for­eign fund­ing? Would I not rather be cor­rect in think­ing that it is re­li­gious fa­nati­cism among some Mus­lims living in Bri­tain that pro­motes vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism? Or if not, then how come more than 600 – at a con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mate – young Mus­lims have left this coun­try to go and fight for Is­lamic State? Again, I only ask. The gov­ern­ment should…

…in­tro­duce more ro­bust leg­is­la­tion to curb me­dia hate cam­paigns against Mus­lims.

Why is there no men­tion of hate cam­paigns mounted by Mus­lim ex­trem­ists against non-Mus­lims? And is what is be­ing de­manded here leg­is­la­tion per­ti­nent to Mus­lims alone? Why sin­gle out Mus­lims if there is a ques­tion of curb­ing free­dom of speech? And what ex­actly is a me­dia hate cam­paign? Is it hate­ful to print sto­ries that are true, even if Mus­lims find th­ese sto­ries of­fen­sive? If a news­pa­per prints some­thing that is not true, then those who are of­fended al­ready have re­course to the usual pro­ce­dures of the li­bel laws. Why should Mus­lims be sin­gled out for pref­er­en­tial treat­ment? And then the gov­ern­ment must…

…guar­an­tee the Mus­lim com­mu­nity the op­por­tu­nity to evolve in­de­pen­dently of gov­ern­ment so­cial en­gi­neer­ing pro­grammes.

What does this mean – mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism, sep­a­rate devel­op­ment, apartheid, ghet­tos? We should be told pre­cisely what in­de­pen­dent evo­lu­tion means here.

The very con­cept of a Mus­lim Man­i­festo is dis­turb­ing. The dif­fer­ence be­tween a Mus­lim Man­i­festo and that of a po­lit­i­cal party, such as the Tories, Labour or UKIP, is that those par­ties claim to rep­re­sent the in­ter­ests of Bri­tish peo­ple in gen­eral. By def­i­ni­tion, the Mus­lim Man­i­festo is sec­tar­ian, di­vi­sive and thus it un­der­mines so­cial co­he­sion.

I won­der what the Mus­lim Man­i­festo means by gov­ern­ment so­cial en­gi­neer­ing? Does this phrase re­fer to the gov­ern­ment’s rea­son­able in­junc­tions to the ef­fect that ev­ery­one living in this coun­try should speak English in public life and gen­er­ally in­te­grate into so­ci­ety? What’s wrong with that?

Let’s try a lit­tle thought ex­per­i­ment. Imag­ine for a mo­ment the out­rage if a group were to pro­duce a Chris­tian Man­i­festo. I don’t mean the sort of soft left, sec­u­larised, woolly worth­less­ness that our bish­ops dis­trib­uted in their 52-page let­ter. I mean rather a Chris­tian Man­i­festo that de­manded that Chris­tians be al­lowed to wear the em­blems of their faith in public and that set out op­po­si­tion to ho­mo­sex­ual mar­riage based on the teach­ings of the Bi­ble. If Mus­lims are to be per­mit­ted to wear the burka and the niqab, why are Chris­tians pre­vented from wear­ing the cross in their work­place?

No doubt for rais­ing th­ese mat­ters I shall be ac­cused of Is­lam­o­pho­bia – what­ever mean­ing any­one can at­tach to that ex­pres­sion. I would just say this: over the next few weeks, the man­i­festos of all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties will be sub­jected to the most care­ful scru­tiny and in­tense ques­tion­ing; the au­thors of the Mus­lim Man­i­festo must ex­pect to be asked ques­tions along with ev­ery­one else.

‘The Mus­lim Man­i­festo must ex­pect to be asked ques­tions’

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