Friday, August 05, 2005

London On Our Mind

London-based Reformist Muslim is back and we are very relieved.

He's been in Pakistan where he notes the following in response to our calling out a Pakistani terror apologist:

I'm in Pakistan right now and seriously thinking of writing a piece along the lines of 'Bye Bye Chomsky'. I don't mind people reading him but him and his followers are elevated to prophet status and there is very little diversity of opinion on foreign affairs issues. For example I don't think anyone has an idea of Christopher Hitchens views on Iraq.

The really frustrating thing though is that almost all of the educated, intelligent people that I know also share the America/Oil/Mossad/Netanyahu/'Who Benefits' view of the world. They are by no means extremists.

We have here a profound problem of intellectual inertia; the rabid fringe then extrapolates absurd rationales for their evil acts of terror from the consequent darkness. How this can be resolved without moderate Muslims rising above their understandable defensiveness at a time like this is hard to fathom? This is quite depressing.

Reformist Muslim makes one other important point. He feels that, absent a just resolution of the Palestine issue, reformists will continue finding it hard to engage their co-religionists in a dialogue based on reason.

We also believe that Palestine should be resolved fairly. But, we also recognize that it's the perennially myopic Palestinian leadership who's prevented a solution from emerging. From the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to Yasser Arafat, we have a long stretch of astonishingly inept politicians & negotiators who've missed no opportunity to miss opportunities.

If Palestine is the problem, then we'd urge our reformist Muslim friends to start demanding that Palestinians get with the game and find themselves sound leadership. Once this happens, the rest is negotiated detail.

Finally, we just finished watching Tony Blair's typically terrific press conference where he unveiled a tough new policy on terror. Our libertarian friends will likely be aghast but we fully support such steps. No one should have the right to misuse a liberal nation's welcome to hurt the very people who laid out the welcome mat. Here is Mr. Blair:

I want to make it clear yet again that this is not in any way whatever aimed at the decent law-abiding Muslim community of Great Britain. We know that this fringe of extremism does not truly represent Islam. We know British Muslims, in general, abhor the actions of the extremists. We acknowledge once again Muslim contribution to our country and welcome it. We welcome those who visit our country from abroad in peace, welcome those who know that in this country the respect and tolerance towards others which we believe in, is the surest guarantee of freedom and progress for people of all religious faiths.

But coming to Britain is not a right, and even when people have come here, staying here carries with it a duty. That duty is to share and support the values that sustain the British way of life. Those that break that duty and try to incite hatred or engage in violence against our country and it's people have no place here. Over the coming months in the courts, in Parliament, in debate and engagement with all parts of our communities, we will work to turn these sentiments into reality, and that is my duty as Prime Minister.

That's leadership. Kudos.


doubtinggaurav said...

While resolution of palestinian issue will be a big breakthrough,
I doubt it will finish the terrorism.
Terrorism is a global industry today (in a most twisted fashion of course).
Resolution of Palestine (which I think is remote),will just see shifting of infrastructure to other flashpoints (Kashmir, Chechenya)
The other issue is that while Palestine might have been the initial cause of Islamist terrorism, the situation now is very complicated, the leadership of terrorism is the extermist fringe of Islam for which nothing less than Dar Ul Islam will suffice.
It is a most unfortunate situation in which one fifth of the humanity is being monopolized by an idealogy which takes inspiration from characters like ghaznis and ghauris, whereas in reality Islam (esp in India )is abound with men and women who taught passion and kindness.
I do agree with you that moderate elements have to take hold of the situation, how they are going to do it, I am clueless about it.

Gameboys said...

PR, save your Kudos.

It took a 7/7 and 55 lives for Tony Blair to see what many of us lay people had seen already? Every Indian with an interest in current affairs had heard of 'Finsbury Park Mosque', yet nothing was done for years. What could be more damning than Hizb-ut-Tahrir considering England their 'hosts'? Better late than never? Sounds like Indian leadership.

- Nanda Kishore

Primary Red said...

Fair enough.

Still, Mr. Blair will face very strong opposition to his proposals -- even given the changed circumstances post 7/7. It's useful, in this context, to express support for what he's doing, rather than cry over spilt milk.

Best regards.

history_lover said...

For Palestine ,almost everybody (including Hamas )accepts that a two state solution is the answer with an independent viable Palestinian state with atleast East Jerusalem as it's capital not a bantustan with criss-crossing Israeli settlements.
Frankly it is the palestinians who are weaker party and have been giving concessions after concessions ...
As for Chechenya,almost all other old European style imperial empires have broken up except for the Russian Empire which first metamorphosed into the USSR and now the russian state ...
First resolve issues with justice and not with Jiski Lathi uski Bhains


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