There is a part that is dangerous and ugly

David Aaaronovitch heard ‘one of those fashionable voices that calls for more understanding of political Islamism and less confrontation’ on Start the Week on Monday.

The former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke, who has become a kind of Dr Dolittle of Islamist movements, was discussing his new book, Resistance: The Essence of the Islamist Revolution with Andrew Marr. Crooke’s point seemed to be that we in the West could learn a lot from Islamism, since it was, in some ways, morally superior to our fly-blown, materialist, individualist societies…Islamists wanted “a society based on compassion and justice”.

Oh do they. Then why is it that the first thing Islamists do is to kick girls out of school or tell women to ‘cover up’ or publicly stone to death a teenage girl who reports being raped? If they want a society based on compassion and justice, why do they go about it in such a stupid malevolent way? That’s not a straight question, of course, it’s heavy sarcasm. Of course Islamists don’t want ‘a society based on compassion and justice’ unless we change the meanings of ‘compassion and justice’ to mean the opposite of what they normally do mean. You might as well say the Nazis wanted a society based on compassion and justice, or that Pol Pot did, or that Milošević did. There is no justice in throwing acid on schoolgirls to bully them into staying out of school, or in burning down schools, or in locking up women, or in burying people up to the neck and then throwing rocks at their heads until they die. How dare he say such a disgusting thing?

Sure, Marr said, but what about the position of women, persecution of gays and the tendency towards blowing stuff up. “There is a part that is dangerous and ugly,” Crooke agreed…

But it is as nothing compared to the morally superior vision of a society based on compassion and justice. ‘Useful idiot’ would be a flattering description of Alastair Crooke.

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