You are here:   Features > The Coalition We Need To Defeat Islamism
 
In government I saw how important it was to understand the ideology, and tactics, of Islamists in order to counter them effectively. When I was Education Secretary my department was alerted to determined efforts by Islamists to take over the running of state schools in Birmingham. A leaked document, the so-called “Trojan Horse” letter, outlined how school governors were subverting the education system designed to help all children succeed in modern Britain. In the teeth of political opposition, from those determined to deny the scale of the problem, we appointed a public servant who really understood how extremists work — Peter Clarke of the Metropolitan Police — to get to the bottom of the affair. His report laid bare the scale of the attempt by Islamist extremists to control the education, culture, faith and social relations of thousands of Birmingham children. Working with brave head teachers he exposed a culture of intimidation and sophisticated ideological networking which was blighting the lives of the next generation.

Attempts by extremists to groom and radicalise are not restricted to our schools. As Justice Secretary I initiated an inquiry into the dangers of Islamist extremism in our jails which identified a number of serious concerns. Vulnerable prisoners were targeted and conversion to Islam presented as a means of both imbuing their lives with new purpose while also showing even greater hostility to “the system” which had let them down. Efforts were made to “Islamise” aspects of prison life and the lack of understanding among some prison professionals of what faith did and did not demand was exploited by assertive extremists to aggrandise their authority. Some of those who “converted” in prison subsequently abandoned a faith which they may have only adopted for self-protection, but others have gone on to lives of extremist activity and terrorist violence — inspired by an ideology whose malign power and global influence so many still fail to appreciate.

We are lucky, however, that two successive Prime Ministers have now “got it”. David Cameron was clear-sighted and brave in calling out the anti-women, anti-gay, anti-liberal prejudices at the heart of Islamism and mobilising Whitehall to develop policies which cut the ground from underneath Islamist organisations. In his groundbreaking 2011 Munich speech he made explicit the link between the words and beliefs of the non-violent extremists and the actions and atrocities of the violent extremists.

Theresa May, as both Home Secretary and Prime Minister, has been equally determined. She has barred and removed more hate preachers and Islamist ideologues than any other minister on record, established an Extremism Analysis Unit at the heart of Government to ensure public servants understand the scale of the threat we face, and has developed a counter-extremism strategy that looks at how to tackle the funding, organisation and ideology of Islamists.

But the fight against extremism cannot be won by Whitehall alone. Clear political leadership is a necessary precondition of success. The local authorities who fund community groups, the heads and governors who run schools, the vice-chancellors who lead our universities, the police officers who maintain civil order, the non-departmental public bodies which disburse taxpayers’ money, the inspectorates which oversee schools and prisons and indeed the professional staff who maintain order in prisons all need to be even better informed, and prepared, to counter extremist thoughts and actions.

View Full Article
 
Share/Save
 
 
 
 
WW2_historian
April 2nd, 2017
4:04 AM
I think you have to be pretty much free of any religious doctrine - and practice! - to be able to see that the problem of Islamism and Islam requires a deeper, wider and more involved engagement than most of us are neither ready for nor wiling and capable of. Firstly, yes, there are - at least to my, decades long experience - Muslim men who do not beat their wives and who do not practice bending in the Mecca direction five times a day, as there are Muslim women who are quite comfortable in jeans, shorts and bikinis, when on beach. The problem is deeper and does not stop at the Mecca's gate; the adherents of ALL major monotheistic religions have shifted toward "fundamentalism" the last several decades. True, the Europe has emerged from its 30-year, 100-year and whichever else religious wars which have hemorrhaged it for centuries but, lest we forgot, the adherents of two Christian sub-fractions, the Serb Orthodox, and the Croat Catholics have been gauging each other's eyes mere 25 years ago, right in this same Europe. The problem stems, in part at least, from the fact that most of us either do not have a reliable looking-glass in our homes or even if we do have, we are not capable of taking a real hard look at ourselves, and identify all the primitivism, bigotry, rejection and intolerance lurking from the depths of our souls. Islam - not homogeneous by any means! - is panicked from the prospect of falling off the bandwagon of modern civilization and is frantically trying to catch up; the Islamists are the friction layer between the subduction zones - to borrow from geophysical vocabulary - between Islam and western "civilization"; the two tectonic plates: the Jesus's land and the Allah's land (I would like to make a strong amendment for the third one but let's skip it for the sake of expediency). But in fact - there is no substance in either one; there has never been one. It is all about power control, the control of masses, be it through the Pope in Rome, the Pope in Alexandria, ..., through Lloyd Blankfein, and many others. The Internet and the cell phones notwithstanding we are - let's have enough courage to admit it - slipping into a new dark age. My vote goes to wise and courageous women of the future.

amcdonald
February 21st, 2017
12:02 PM
Geert Wilders advocates closing mosques and banning the koran in Holland. We`ll soon see how the will of the people (also known as the Holy Spirit in Zizek`s philosophising) finds expression theologically and polititically there. Even President Trump doesn`t go that far. Douglas Murray has some appreciative things to say about both (Spectator). I agree. Douglas Murray and Julie Burchill are the best journalists. Julie B goes even further advocating the death penalty for the scum who murder women. Theresa May`s feminism is milder than Wilders but has been appreciatively welcomed by feminist campaign groups in the UK. I like the way she turned up at the House of Lords for the Brexit speeches. If muslims simply misunderstand Jesus who can simply correct them?

amcdonald
January 30th, 2017
5:01 PM
Theresa May and Michael Gove agree on the `Jesuitical` distinction mentioned by Ed in his comment. A truly Jesuitical distinction has Islam/the Koran as an `alternative fact`, a bent version of Judaeo-Christian theology. Does our Prime Minister and Michael Gove think the Brexit voters are for more mosques and more sharia anti-feminism? Theresa May did amazingly well in the USA. Britain and America are now actually leading the world. Putin now knows it. He did outsmart the West until Brexit and the voters for Trump. Trump has said he will give no advance warnings about the how and when of any advances against the islamists. According to the Daily Mail the murderers of the muslims in the Quebec mosque were shouting the jihadist war slogan God Is Great. Royal Academy artist Grayson Perry is inviting Vote Leavers and Remainers to contribute graphics/thoughts/facts/alternative facts for display on two large pots to sit on the nation`s mantlepiece ( a Ch4 commission). And from the NE are two tracks of a pro-Brexit,pro-art,pro music soon to be cd circulating on social media. George Osborne allocated £5million to the Great Northern Exhibition Newcastle/Gateshead 2018. Manchester got £50 million.

amcdonald
January 15th, 2017
6:01 PM
I don`t buy newspapers anymore but I`ll be buying the Times on Monday to read the Michael Gove interview with Donald Trump. Politics is becoming surprising since Brexit. Islam is actually the greatest atheism as well as a great blasphemy against Jesus. Having an adept of Islam read from the koran in a Glasgow cathedral is just dumb.

Ed
December 21st, 2016
10:12 PM
Mr Gove, it doesn't work. Your artificial distinctions are Jesuitical in extreme. The roots and seeds of Islamism are in Islam, and the fruits of it are violence, oppression, destruction, subjugation - after all "Islam" means "Submission". I refuse to submit. Call the spade a spade.

amcdonald
December 13th, 2016
7:12 PM
I watched the BBC Muslims Like Us last night. We are all basically evil, egotistical, disgusting (says Zizek). Isn`t the pro-Sharia,islamic state and superior so-called muslim character actually displaying his inferiority complex regarding western civilisation and our popular culture ? Is he a cartoon of the prophet? Is it Islam that`s actually Satanic ? Either that or he`s evil,egotistical and disgusting. Just like the BBC for giving him the oxygen of publicity. Broadcasting treason puts public security at severe risk. And the BBC `ponces` want paying to do it. No wonder 17.4 million voted for Brexit. So no BBC rushing to join the coalition to defeat Islamism ? A bloke goes into a muslim bookshop. He`s having a look around and the muslim assistant comes over and asks if he can help. The bloke says "Have you got the new Donald Trump book?" "Get out! Get out of here and never come back!" shouts the assistant. "Yes that`s the one," says the bloke, "How much is it?".

Ean Dorugh
November 25th, 2016
4:11 PM
I don't see how/why v intelligent and knowledgeable Gove has written this. I've lived amongst Muslim communities inc in M East and I agree with comments here (eg by Burdon, Saltzman) that most Muslims find it nearly impossible to denounce/disown Islamism, rather than only condemning its current murderous campaigns, because violence is condoned in the Quran - just as it is in the Bible. But most 'Christians' have never read large parts of the Bible and in any case they have been careful from the beginning to minimise/ignore bits that are inconvenient, even some that are stated to be the very words of God- from the 10 Cs. They won't even permit the law/State to punish those who grossly defame Jesus (Witehouse v Lennon 1977), unlike the violent protests and book-burning by ordinary UK Muslims over Rushdie, not to mention the fatwah encouraging his murder from one of the top and best educated Muslim 'clerics' and jurists. I would like all indoctrination of children (inc by their parents) in supernatural beliefs of all kinds to be banned. In a generation, we could hope to find mosques emptying like churches have.

Michael Martin
November 25th, 2016
12:11 PM
I spent several years teaching at university or similar in Iran and Saudi, the leaders of the two sects of Islam, and there is no way you could separate the universalist tyrannical beliefs of these countries, esp Saudi, with those of Islamists. And, as for 'God’s will was undermined', I have never been able to get, even 'ordinary', Muslims to accepy that it is stupid, irrational and oxymoronic (and, I would have thought, listening to Saudis, blasphemous) to defend some action of theirs on the basis that omnipotent and omniscient Allah seemed not able or willing to accomplish its aim.

Arnie Ward
November 24th, 2016
4:11 PM
I lived for many years in Cape Town which has a large Muslim population. I didn't experience Islam as being admirable. It was a revelation how aggressively separatist many Muslims became following the Khomeini revolution.

Observer of the Scene
November 21st, 2016
10:11 AM
The idea that mainstream Islam is an admirable, moderate religion is somewhat undermined by the behaviour of Muslims in Rotherham (and elsewhere), and by the imam-sanctioned corruption seen in Tower Hamlets (and elsewhere). None of all that was inspired by Islamism. But the idea that Islam and Islamism are distinct doesn't hold water either. Lots of Mohammed's behaviour was "extremist" and he, to orthodox mainstream Muslims, was the most admirable human being who has ever lived, a model for imitation at all times and in all places.

Post your comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.