Tony Blair's government dialogue with Britain's Muslims is becoming ridiculous

Before reading, please see Steve Bell's cartoon on the subject. The three characters are Blair (the dog), Reid, the home secretary as a baby suicide bomber and Bush seen in the back pushing the baby. Steve Bell always portrays Bush as a primate. Look at how he draws his feet.

From today's The Guardian:

''Mr Reid had gone to Leyton county cricket ground to warn Muslim parents that "fanatics are looking to groom and brainwash your children for suicide bombing" and tell them to "look for the telltale signs" or risk losing them for ever.

The warning, which had been trailed in tabloid newspapers, had sparked protests even before he got to his feet with Ahmed Versi, the editor of the Muslim News, saying it was farcical for him to ask parents to spy on their children and report them to the anti-terrorist police.

But Mr Reid was unrepentant: "I know it's not easy. I'm a parent with two boys and I know how hard it is to raise children and to know everything about them ... But there are some circumstances when we need to intervene. There is no nice way of saying this but there are fanatics looking to groom and brainwash children, including your children for suicide bombing. Grooming them to kill themselves in order to murder others."

When the home secretary described 9/11, 7/7 in London and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as battles between modern and fanatical values in Islam, it provoked some of the 30-strong audience. Abu Izzadeen, in white flowing robes, interrupted him: "How dare you come to a Muslim area when over 1,000 Muslims have been arrested?" Mr Reid was a tyrant and an enemy of Islam. When Muslim women told him it was a "time for dialogue" he told them to "be quiet" before being ushered out by stewards and police.''


Gert said...

Reid's behaviour is rather typical of British "state-nannyism": an attitude in which the state feels it has to tell its citizens, in the minutest details, how they should lead their lives. As a long standing resident (I wasn't born in the UK) this phenomenon continues to both amaze, irritate and amuse me in equal measures. I believe that there isn't a single aspect of British life on which some rubber desk Johnny hasn't written a colourful but useless and generally unread leaflet. Reid's "lecture" is simply another manifestation of the control-freakery this state is so fond of.

But if you haven't seen the actual footage of the incident you might also be tricked into believing Abu Izzadeen was reasonable or right: he wasn't and we do see too many fringe Muslims expressing themselves in a disruptive, loud and unnuanced way, which doesn't help their cause at all...

Sophia said...

Thank you for putting this bizarre news item in its local context.
As for Abu Izzadeen, I don't know him. We don't own a TV and I may never hear him speak. You must be right about him because I have seen other reactions like the one you describe and one wonder what's pushing Muslims to react this way contrary to their interests ? For some of them, at least those who are seen on TV, it is either total submission to the West from many of their rulers or total rebellion. There might be an explanation and I may find it one day...However, be sure that when extremisms prevail, they silence the reasonable majority.

Gert said...

"However, be sure that when extremisms prevail, they silence the reasonable majority."

This is the crux of the matter and it applies to all forms of extremism. Even our extremist animal rights activists behave similarly: disruptive of debate, Manichean in outlook, occasionally violent and rarely serving their own cause all that well.

For Muslims in Britain these are trying times but there is a certain degree of exaggeration within the community regarding the perceived "targeting". But on the other hand many Muslims I know don't seem to suffer from this kind of "persecution syndrome" and look at some of their brethren with consternation.

Abu Izzadeen is one those who want to have their cake and eat it: he wants equal rights for Muslims (which he's already got) AND live under Sharia law. It doesn't dawn on these people that both demands are mutually incompatible since a Liberal Democracy (however imperfect) cannot (and will not) accept theocratic law.

Wolfie said...

Stef has a very amusing take on this little storm in a tea-cup.

Where do they find these ridiculous straw-man rent-a-Muslims to strut about and amuse or irritate in equal measure? If I were Muslim I'd go round to his house and give him a peace of my mind.

Wolfie said...


The demands of these unpleasant individuals are unreasonable for a simple reason...

Its got nothing to do with Islam; the religion is merely a conduit for their agenda. Rather like communism attracted the disaffected, angry and the charlatans in their droves during the 30's.

This struggle is thousands of years old, we thought it was behind us but its back.

Ethnic dominance.

Sophia said...

I agree wtith your remark but I would not call it ethnic dominance, I would call it extreme communautarism in a multi ethnic society.
I think communautarism is the greatest challenge for multicultural societies. While I am a firm believer in a globalised world which is becoming inevitable with the increase in the media of communication and in multicultural states, I think the greatest challenge of this globalised world is how to handle communautarism whose extreme forms might be dangerous.
I think radical Islam is a form of globalised communautarism.
My opinion is that confrontation is useless because it reinforces communautarism and represses the individual emancipation from the community. No fool stands alone in the face of danger. Adhering to a community,s values without questioning can be good but just as a transitional process in the way toward individual emancipation. And I believe individual emancipation can be reinforced greatly by living peaceully with other ethnies and cultures whose values are different.

However, our problem is that both Bin Laden's and Bush's agenda are set on confrontation and this is not a good thing for the individual, no matter what his ethnicity is, because it is preventing him from emancipating.
'Diviser pour régner', is a slogan for empires but how can you divide along clear lines if you are facing a society which is a mosaic of individuals ? The best way to do then is to exacerbate communautarism and divide communities.

Sophia said...

''Abu Izzadeen is one those who want to have their cake and eat it: he wants equal rights for Muslims (which he's already got) AND live under Sharia law. It doesn't dawn on these people that both demands are mutually incompatible since a Liberal Democracy (however imperfect) cannot (and will not) accept theocratic law.''

You have given the exact definition of extreme communautarism as it is apparent today in our multicultural societies. Grouops and communities will ask for privileges which are not only incompatible with a liberal democracy but also incompatible with other groups demands...

Sophia said...

Stef's post is indeed hilarious.

Vox Populi - Agent Provocateur said...

I agree with you Sophia, we should always encourage our children, whether they want to be engineers, lawyers or terrorists. Reid's comments are totally unappropriate and disrespectful to Pakistan's culture.

Since March 29th 2006