Knowing theocracy when you see it

Shiraz Maher gets it – much better than Robert Lambert does. This could be because (or notwithstanding or both) he was once in Hizb ut-Tahrir.

The British state has traditionally predicated its policy on the premise that ostensibly nonviolent Islamists can be part of the solution to al Qaeda violence…The practical effect of this has been to engage and empower nonviolent exponents of Islamism who, while expressing opposition to the terrorism of Osama bin Laden and his cohorts, hold values and views that are antithetical to mainstream British society. This has often meant turning a blind eye to preachers who advocate the killing of homosexuals, the oppression of women and the subjugation of nonbelievers.

Precisely; I’ve been carping at them about this for years; I’ve also been carping at people like Ian Buruma (and at Ian Buruma) for making the same stupid mistake.

This tendency is exemplified by the term “Preventing Violent Extremism,” the banner under which the government’s flagship counterterrorism strategy continues to operate…The result is that Islamists have routinely been enlisted as official, public partners in the hope that their cooperation might reduce the terrorist threat…[I]s it right that liberal societies should endorse those whose values we would otherwise find abhorrent?

No it damn well is not right, which is why I’ve been carping (and why other people have too).

[W]hen government now talks about ideology, it does so in only the narrowest possible terms: the bloodcurdling doctrine of al Qaeda. By refusing to cast the net further, groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its sprawling network of “front groups” continue unchallenged. Yet the Brotherhood is a movement whose views, including its desire to establish a pan-Islamic theocracy, are fundamentally irreconcilable with those of a liberal society.

In exactly the same way that the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam is fundamentally irreconcilable with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Who are the real bulwarks against radicalization and who are the bogus ones? And by what criteria should those partners be chosen? For starters, the state should draw a line against any group or individual opposed to those inalienable and nonnegotiable values – such as not discriminating on the basis of religion, race, sexual orientation or gender – which define the British public sphere in the 21st century. These values are universal and applicable to all communities. Government should use them to create a robust, values-led initiative that makes clear exactly what the state stands for.

Hear hear. Out of the mouths of repentant Islamists…

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