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However hurtful this may be to the majority of Muslims who are just as sickened by Manchester and London as the rest of us, there surely ought to be an end to the repeated denials that such atrocities have anything to do with Islam. They have everything to do with the crisis within Islam, and the more that crisis can be talked about in an open and honest way, the sooner there might be some resolution to it — an outcome not helped by the full-on moral relativism from the likes of “Thought for the Day”’s Dr Giles Fraser. He says he has a problem with people thinking “the Koran is a particularly violent book and that somehow causes some sort of violence” whereas “the Bible itself is a particularly violent book and that doesn’t create the same sort of thing.”

It’s true that the Old Testament has some terrible verses but they aren’t being used today to justify havoc and grief worldwide. There is not a network of private schools and priests, study groups, political activists and global satellite channels inculcating division and hate to the point where cells of warrior Christians are slaughtering innocent people on a near-daily basis.

Viewed through their modern ideological prism, jihadists do justify their appalling violence by reference to the Koran’s warlike verses, despite their reasoning having been challenged by classical Islamic theology and jurisprudence.

That ideological prism — from the 7/7 jihadists, to the slaughterers of Private Lee Rigby, to the Westminster jihadist Khalid Masood and the Manchester bombing — all claim foreign policy as their justification, just as Osama bin-Laden did when he spoke of the “humiliation” suffered by Muslims at the hands of the West since Sykes-Picot, the 1916 Anglo-French agreement that carved up the Ottoman empire.

But things have also moved on. It was the West that came to the rescue of Muslims in eastern Europe after the break-up of Yugoslavia; and it was the West that liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein.

Foreign policy is not the root cause of the violence and nihilism now being inflicted on us. If it was, what is the reason for its daily occurrence in Arab and other Muslim countries? Anti-Western sentiment is the root cause, fuelled by lies about how the West hates Muslims and by theological interpretations of Islam that have created a divisive “them and us” worldview. After the van attack on Muslims here, it is easy think this might be true — but the vast majority of British non-Muslims will not fall into the trap set by bigotry begetting bigotry. As for poor theology, that is a challenge which lies squarely with British Muslim community leaders. But non-Muslims also have a massive stake in these leaders fashioning a version of Islam that is compatible with the mainstream majority if we are ever to have a truly shared citizenship and an end to both far Rights — Islamist and traditional.

This may take decades, yet now we seem set for another false start. In its election manifesto, the government sounded as if it was going to put real political heft into calling time on the ingrained timidity that has inhibited this country’s institutions from asserting pride and confidence in, yes, British values. They are indeed superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.

Instead, the Conservative Party has recklessly and selfishly allowed a poisonous family quarrel over Europe to become a suicide pact — and now risks letting in a Labour leader whose entire political career has been stimulated by disdain for the West, appeasement of extremism, and who would barely understand what fighting for the revival of British values is really all about.  
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amcdonald
July 30th, 2017
4:07 PM
Islam is a bent version of the Bible. The Koran promotes a bent version of Christ. And yet no Christians challenge and correct the bent Islamic picture of Christ. Tories and Labourites can`t `speak truth to power` on this. Richard Dawkins is right but not so precise. It couldn`t be easier for all muslims,christians and atheists to watch artist Akiane Kramarik`s short filn ` Painting the Impossible ` (YouTube). It`s a work of art in itself not only about one. You want an alternative narrative and interfaith dialogue ? Well let`s see this film in churches ,mosques, synagogues,temples and Tate Mpderns. The BBC is just too thick to show and discuss it. Nor would it show artist Stella Vine`s `Evangeline` pictures. The cultural provincialism of our religious,political and cultural leaders is not shared by the people. Which is one reason 17 million voted for Brexit.Freedom Day.

amcdonald
July 15th, 2017
5:07 PM
British Values ? £10 per hour minimum wage? Grants not loans for students? All those others listed in the Labour Manifesto ? Tory values are symbolised by the atrocity exhibition that is now Grenfell Towers.

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