What Inayat Said

Did you see Inayat’s comment on Nick’s article? Maybe not, because most of the comments at Talk is Cheap are so blathery and time-wasting you didn’t even want to look. So I’ll save you the trouble, because it’s worth seeing.

Nick’s article, in case you didn’t read that either (I have to do everything around here…) is about the Foreign Office’s courtship of Islamists:

On Friday at 7.30pm, Channel 4 will screen a documentary by Bright, Who Speaks for Muslims, which shows how the Foreign Office views the Islamist far right as potential allies. To accompany the programme, the Policy Exchange think-tank will publish ‘When Progressives Treat with Reactionaries: the British State’s Flirtation with Radical Islamism’…They describe the FO’s attempts to woo the Arab Muslim Brotherhood, whose closest allies in Britain are the Muslim Association of Britain, and its south Asian counterpart, Jamaat-e-Islami, whose supporters are at the top of the Muslim Council of Britain. The mandarins reason that these groups are not part of al-Qaeda, which is true; that they are growing in power, which is regrettably true as well; and that they are composed of reasonable men with whom Britain can do business, which is palpable nonsense.

Read the rest. Including this part:

Sir Derek Plumbly, the British ambassador to Egypt and the only diplomat to emerge with credit from the affair, noted that there is no reason to expect that the Muslim Brotherhood will moderate its views because Britain appeases it. His masters confused ‘engaging with the Islamic world’ with ‘engaging with Islamism’, and ignored the policies of the Islamist far right as they did it. In doing so, they abandoned all the Muslims in Britain and the Islamic world who believe in the very values of ‘democracy, freedom of expression, respect for human rights’ Her Majesty’s government is meant to uphold.

Then read Bunglawala’s reaction.

Hi Nick, you sly warmonger you. Not content with having been a cheerleader for Bush’s war which has killed over 100,000 Iraqis to date, you now want to also stop any dialogue with democratic Islamic groups in the Muslim world.

Your articles routinely display the imperialism you accuse your opponents of. Your position seems to be that of the typical condescending colonialist. Let’s support democracy overseas as long the wogs vote for the people we want them to.

The Muslim Council of Britain is an umbrella body which tries to bring together the many diverse schools of thought that make up British Islam. This includes various sunni and shi’a trends. As long as they all believe in the fundamental tenets of Islam and are committed to obeying British law, we are happy for them to affiliate to us. Should we exclude some just because they displease you?

To see Martin Bright (the author of a New Statesman cover story called ‘The Great Koran Con Trick’) and you both targeting a Muslim civil servant is also revealing. I wonder how you would react if a Jewish civil servant was so publicly vilified?

Well no wonder the BBC keep phoning him up for his wise views.

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