Monday, March 27, 2017

Stand Up for the Right to Criticise Islam

THE AUSTRALIAN: “It is wrong to describe this as Islamic terrorism. It is Islamist terrorism. It is a perversion of a great faith.” This is what the British Prme Minister said last week in parliament. While I completely accept that the sins of extremists should never be visited on the vast majority of moderate believers, I am increasingly uneasy about how we handle the connection between religion and extremism. The ideology to which Khalid Masood was converted in prison may indeed be a perversion of Islam, but it is a version of it. We should not shy away from saying so.

After Nice, Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation wrote that saying such terrorism has nothing to do with Islam (as some do) is as dangerous as stating that it has everything to do with Islam. The terrorists in London, Paris, Brussels, Nice, Munich, Berlin, Wurzburg, Ansbach, Orlando, San Bernardino, Sydney, Bali, New York, Mumbai and many other places have been white, black and brown, rich, poor and middle class, male and female, gay and straight, immigrant and native, young and (now) older. The one thing they have in common is that they had been radicalised by religious preachers claiming to interpret the Koran.

Moreover, while a few sick individuals find within Islam justification for murder and terror, a far larger number find justification for misogyny and intolerance. We must be allowed to say this without being thought to criticise Muslims as people. » | Matt Ridley | The Times | Monday, March 27, 2017