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Will Britain stand up for liberal Muslims? The Government should follow France and Germany in challenging the Islamists

Three Muslim women during midday prayers. Credit: Omer Messinger/Getty

Three Muslim women during midday prayers. Credit: Omer Messinger/Getty


November 20, 2020   5 mins

I’m used to hatred and rejection. I’ve needed 24/7 police protection ever since my book, Islam Needs a Sexual Revolution, was published in 2009. My social media channels are regularly flooded with derogatory messages and death threats. “May Allah put you on the right path, or destroy you!” is one of the very few examples that can be repeated before the watershed.

Abuse was at its worse when I opened Germany’s first liberal mosque, the Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque, in 2017. I wanted people to be able to worship in a place that advocates an interpretation of Islam which reflects the values of the Western society in which I live. I was Germany’s first female head and preacher of a mosque — it was a historic moment for the state and for me personally. The Ibn Rushd-Goethe is a holy place where women and men can pray and preach together, where the veiling of the whole face (Niqab) is forbidden and where the Koran is interpreted through a contemporary lens.

The reaction we got was strong.

A fatwa was issued by the Egyptian Fatwa Council. Turkey’s main religious authority, Diyanet (directly run by the presidency), denounced the mosque as “depraving and ruining religion”. It was an attempt to deprive Germany’s Muslim population, including four million people of Turkish origin, of the right to freely exercise their religion and freedom of expression.

During our opening ceremony, a Turkish news station attempted to stage footage of the Quran being dishonoured. Turkey’s secret services visited the mosque repeatedly; I was attacked directly from Ankara and our supporters challenged. Diyanet denounced us as terrorists and supporters of Fethullah GĂŒlen, a preacher who is a sworn enemy of President Erdogan. This message suited the narrative being pushed by Erdogan’s party, AKP, directly to the Turkish community in Germany: that we are a politically motivated, inherently unIslamic movement.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. I am simply trying to enable ordinary Muslims to follow their faith. Many are joining me; my mosque attracts several hundred visitors a month. I have given speeches to, and led talks for, liberal Muslims and defenders of freedom of speech across the world. Every day, I am inundated with requests for guidance from fellow travellers looking for the courage and support to follow their faith. And I am exploring sites in London and Vienna for more liberal mosques, to meet demand. We are on the cusp of something truly exciting.

Seyran Ates with another Imam at the Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque. Credit: JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images

And today, more than ever, we need to look at the future of Islam. In Vienna, in Nice, in Paris and also, with less public attention, in Dresden, the vivid horrors of Islamist terrorism are back. Yet again, we hear the familiar questioning and soul searching: could these attacks have been avoided?

Well my answer is simple: no. And we can expect more of the same for so long as the violent ideology that underpins this terror — political Islam or Islamism — remains. It is an ideology that I have campaigned against my whole life, to the detriment of my own personal security and liberties. And that in itself highlights the challenge.

Islamism is the political ideology that guides Isis, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Its aim is to achieve an Islamic state through political action or violent struggle. It is an ideology that segregates people based on sex, divides communities along religious lines and fuels hatred and suspicion of open discussion and debate on contemporary values.

That’s why what we are doing in my mosque — and beyond — is so important. Our movement has been consistently praised and used as a powerful counter-voice to Islamists across the country. Our growth is a testament to the bravery of ordinary Muslims wishing to follow their faith, and to the protection and support given to us by Germany. When Ankara threatened us — as it has threatened President Macron and France — the German Government proactively and very publicly intervened.

State support and intervention is so critical. President Macron has bravely attempted to lead a debate about the future of Islam and its integration into the West, highlighting the dangers of allowing Islamists to create a state within a state. This has been followed by intervention from the French state services who inspected 51 Islamist NGOs, recommending several be dissolved. In Vienna, the Austrian government raided several associations and societies suspected of belonging to and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. During the raids, the police reportedly found assets worth more than €25 million, stored in 130 bank accounts.

Only last week, Charles Michel, President of the EU Council, spoke of establishing a European institute to train imams in Europe to “fight the ideology of hatred”. A European delegation consisting of Macron, Merkel, Ursula Von der Leyen and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz have now consulted on new, tougher EU regulations in Paris. And, last week, Chancellor Kurz confirmed he will create a new offence for “political Islam”, so the Austrian state can “take action against those who are not terrorists themselves, but who create the breeding ground”. These are radical steps and shows a clear trajectory to combating Islamism. Which is why I have to ask: where is the UK?

Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood spent years attempting to insert themselves into UK politics and media. Instead of elevating liberal voices in Islam, we see regression. The UK has also overseen significant growth in the funding of religious and educational institutions by charities and entities from Qatar and Turkey. In December last year, President Erdogan opened an eco-mosque in Cambridge, addressed a rally of supporters of his Justice & Development Party in London, and met with two prominent Islamists in the UK with links to Hamas. These are the very same states who want to shut me down.

Suggested reading
Will Britain stand up for liberal Muslims?

By Peter Franklin

Younger Muslims in Germany and the UK — home to some 3 million muslims — are desperate to join the fight against Islamism but fearful of the consequences. I have been inundated with private messages of support since announcing my intention to found a liberal mosque in Britain, but these same people fear being targeted and persecuted for their beliefs if that support were made public.

That is surprising in a country like England, where these moderate religious voices need to be encouraged and supported. Unfortunately, unlike me, they cannot rely on 24/7 police protection — and the attacks across Europe will discourage many from speaking up. But the immediate steps being taken in France and Austria can give us courage. I want them to be met in equal force by progressive, liberal Muslim voices who are championed and supported by the state apparatus.

I struggled for years in Germany to get where I am now. I want to help recreate that success in the UK and allow liberal Muslim communities to flourish. That means giving British Muslims the education, religious materials and roadmap that successfully established and preserved the Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque in Berlin. It means offering hope and courage to British Muslims in private — ensuring access to our global support community — while defending their right to religious freedom in public. And most important, it means challenging the very voices who want to restrict religious freedom.


Seyran Ates is an Imam, lawyer, global human rights campaigner and founder of Germany’s first liberal mosque, Ibn Rushd-Goethe Mosque.

SeyranAtes

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Tom Hawk
Tom Hawk
3 years ago

So called political islam is a misnomer. It is islam.
Just that, Islam. Progressive or liberal islam is the not the norm.

The real problem we face is those who will not recognise there is an incompatible difference between the liberal values they promote and the instructional culture of a religion that decrees what is haram or halal.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hawk

By definition in Islamic theology the world is split in two:

Dar al-Islam (House of Islam) – territories under Sharia law
Dar al-Harb (House of War) – territories not under Sharia law

Many (moderate) Muslims and others do point out nowadays that there also classically existed a definition for territories at truce (Dar al-Sahd) but this distinction is not in common use over the years.

We should stand up for the rights of anyone against persecution, threats and violence. And most certainly the author. May her own take on Islam take over from more radical variants.

But this should not distract from a sober discussion about whether there are key tenets of this ideology that may be incompatible with (true) Liberal values.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

I suppose we in Britain are in the house of war where the fight is still going on.

maryannred
maryannred
3 years ago
Reply to  A Spetzari

Any “truce” will only last till Islam achieves the upper hand.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Hawk

Presumably you would have said the same about Christianity during the 14th-17th centuries? The hatred and persecution eventually resolved into the Enlightenment of the 18th century and even Catholics were granted Emancipation in the 19th century.
Islam is going through a similar purge and upheaval at a similar time in it’s history. The liberal Muslims generally keep a low profile because otherwise they will be attacked by the Islamic fundamentalists.
Seyran is a very brave woman.

maryannred
maryannred
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

I’m afraid there is a key difference between the history of persecution in Christianity and Islam. In Christianity it flouted scripture, in Islam it scrupulously follow scripture. Consider this. What chance would there have been of Christianity ever reforming, and reverting to being a peaceful, proselytising, voluntary faith (after its politicisation by the Romans, and hundreds of years of bloody religious wars and persecution) if Christianity’s foundational figure, Jesus, was recorded in scripture as giving up his peaceful ministry (body count nil), repudiating his edict “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s.” (the basis of freedom of belief, and the separation of Church from state and law), raising an army, and conquering unbelievers “through terror”, with a sword called the “divider of vertebrae”? If he had established a totalitarian “Messiahphate”, had opponents murdered, mandated death for apostasy and blasphemy, forced the captured women and children of the men he had conquered and slaughtered into slavery, and endorsed, and himself practiced, sex slavery? Precisely – not a chance. And that sequence of events is exactly what is recorded in Islamic scripture in respect of Mohammed’s life and “perfect example” for all Muslims for all time. It matters no more that the Mohammed of scripture is now considered by some historians to be fictional than that the account of Jesus in the Bible may also be at least partly fiction – it’s what believers believe because of the scriptures that counts. Islam is quintessentially fascist, jihadic and phenomenally dangerous – and can never change because its scriptures can never change. We fail to understand that at our existential peril.

http://www.faithfreedom.org

http://www.citizenwarrior.c

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
3 years ago

Sadly not all will stand up for you, but I do, for what it’s worth. Well done.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

Commendably liberal of you, but you are gullible.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
3 years ago

Possibly gullible, but rather that than think like you.

Anthony Devonshire
Anthony Devonshire
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

I’m with you here. People like polidoris ghost are stone age thinkers.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago

Just noting the realities around me old boy

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

I don’t think that’s fair. He’s merely not covering his eyes to the fact that Islam is still dominated by stone age thinkers.

If there was a global poll among Muslims, what percentage do you think would be supportive of the article’s author?

I would be astonished if it were as much as 15%.

maryannred
maryannred
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Very few. And the primitive thinker who dominates Islam is, and always will be, Mohammed.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

People on the right are too intellectually lazy to distinguish between moderates and fundamentalists. They just trot out bigotry and racism. Meanwhile people on the left are too concerned with tolerance and diversity to call out the murderous scumbags.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

“People on the right are too intellectually lazy to distinguish between moderates and fundamentalists.”
You assume that such a distinction exists. It is not intellectually lazy to observe that it doesn’t.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

And this woman here? Looking for sites to open liberal mosques? And the millions of Muslims who go about their daily lives with less hatred of anyone than say, someone like you has? You don’t see them? It must be a sad and fearful place inside your head.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I haven’t displayed hatred.
I just observe that some worldviews are mutually incompatible.
A liberal mosque is a contradiction in terms.
My head is fine thanks Kevin.
At least I’ve got one.

Zach Thornton
Zach Thornton
3 years ago

It is no more a contradiction in terms than a reformist synagogue or a church run by Quakers. Religions are defined by their adherents and all change over time. Islam is not a monolith. Muslims in The Gambia are different to Muslims in Bosnia and they are very different to Saudi Arabia. Your refusal to appreciate nuance is extremist and only a reflection of your own bigotry.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Zach Thornton

You indulge in wishful thinking, so therefore I am a bigot.
Thanks Zach, I get where you are coming from: Your virtue is on display for all to see.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Zach Thornton

Religions are defined by their scriptures; the adherents choose how closely or otherwise they follow these. If they believe the scriptures are true, it seems odd to play pick and mix with the contents or to think the scriptures change with time.

Michael Cowling
Michael Cowling
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

So Christians should be following the old testament injunctions? Literally?

Zach Thornton
Zach Thornton
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

Indeed it is odd and it is one of the reasons why I am not religious. Nonetheless, Islam is exactly the same as Christianity or Hinduism in this respect. Many posters would have you actually believe that Muslims are unique when it comes to their faith. It is demonstrably false and is therefore a mere excuse for rank ignorance and bigotry.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Zach Thornton

Are religions defined by their adherents or by their holy books? If the latter are regarded as inspired by God, they would not change with time and location. You acknowledge the impact of our various cultures and I wonder to what extent we should examine how the culture fits with out faith rather than the other way round.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

By the way, Kevin, I have muslims in my extended family. We get along fine at a certain level: They are “liberal”
But I know what they think, deep down, about me and about you.
I know, because if I press them, they will tell me.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

And what is it that they tell you? Please share.
Anything different than deeply religious Christians or Jews will tell you?

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

That I am an unbeliever and therefore I am a sinful creature. I am not fully human until I embrace Islam. (It is a lot more complicated than that, but that is the essence of it when all the fancy stuff is stripped out)
My closet friend is a devout Christian. She doesn’t say anything to me, because her faith is a private matter, not a public one.
My family roots are east end Jewish. We just crack jokes and don’t encourage converts in any case.
Me? I am an atheist but I become agnostic when the sun is shining.
There you are Kevin, I have shared, but I doubt that it will make you any more enlightened.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

And you don’t think that in eyes of Mike Pence’s brand of Christianity that you’re also a failure as a human? And will pay for that one day

Don’t the orthodox Jews have plans for a Third Temple end of times party that will see you , and the gays, and all manner of subhumans roasted on a spit (or whatever)?

How is that different from the intolerant nonsense found in the Koran?

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

What on earth are you going on about?
Did you just Google “Random things”

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

Religion mate. They’ve all got a judgement day scenario. Did you not get to the end of the book?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

If there wasn’t a judgement it wouldn’t be a righteous God.

kinelll086
kinelll086
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

big difference ! the christians who believe that rubbish are a tiny tiny minority, I don’t recall any of them killing muslims in the way that muslims are currently doing all over the world

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  kinelll086

Not since the Crusades.
Of course Jews were frequently massacred throughout the Medieval, because they were in England unlike the Muslims.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  kinelll086

We are told to love our enemies but I would still use violence to protect my children.

Zach Thornton
Zach Thornton
3 years ago
Reply to  kinelll086

Christianity was used to justify the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Catholic fascists in Croatia slaughtered 800,000 – 1,000,000 million Orthodox Slavs in the Balkans during WW2, masterminds of mass murder and genocide were concealed by the Vatican after the war and assisted in their attempts to escape Europe and justice. Then there were Crusades in the Middle Ages. Regular Christian pogroms throughout Europe for 100s of years against Jewish people. What about the genocide committed by Orthodox Serbs during the 1990s. The list goes on.

That notion that Muslims are anything than flawed human beings just like everyone else on this planet is obscene and quite clearly just an attempt to rationalise hatred and bigotry.

Harvey Johnson
Harvey Johnson
3 years ago

Living as I do in Finsbury Park, I have Muslim family and friends who absolutely wouldn’t fit in your neat little boxes, polidoris. Some take their religiosity with a pinch of salt – or ‘when the sun shines’ as you so eloquently put it. Some go to the Mosque and fall asleep. Some occasionally pray but not always. Some drink. Many have sex before marriage.

Most importantly, the vast majority condemn the actions of those who behead people in the streets. Your stance is unhelpful to us recognising this indisputable fact.

Many Islam theorists are currently in the process of reforming Islam. Your black-and-white stance, laden with dubious, obtuse anecdotal evidence, doesn’t discount that.

Prominent reformers such as Asra Nomani, Irshad Manji, Tawfiq Hamid, Maajid Nawaz, Zuhdi Jasser, Saleem Ahmed, Yunis Qandil, Seyran Ates, Bassam Tibi and Abd al-Hamid al-Ansari must be supported and protected. These reformers should be as well known in the West as Solzhenitsyn, Sakharov and Havel were generations earlier.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

In that case the Muslims in your family are not as liberal as you seem to think.
I married into a Muslim family in Pakistan 50 years ago. There has never been any “deep down” mistrust on either side. The problem with many Muslims who emigrated to the U.K. is that they were not educated and they brought their ingrained religious ideas and some have continued to perpetuate those ideas despite the western education. Hence the “honour killings” forced marriages and the adoption of the Saudi hijab etc.
Educated people in Pakistan do not, in my experience, have these dogmatic religious views.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

The word liberal was in inverted commas.
There are no liberal muslims. It is a contradiction in terms.
Perhaps your educated muslims are lapsed muslims

kinelll086
kinelll086
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Yes like the president of Pakistan, he was highly educated in the west. A man who believes the laws of blasphemy should stay and people criticising the Koran should be locked up and allows christians to be raped and murdered all over the country and says very little about it

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  kinelll086

As the elected leader of the country he has to follow the official line.
He wasn’t educated in the west but he went to a good school in Pakistan. That is irrelevant.
I am not sure about the reference of Christians being raped and murdered as I haven’t read anything. Perhaps you can provide a link ?
Christians are frequently accused of blasphemy in villages because the Muslims will get their land when they are imprisoned.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

I agree. There are charities in the UK that do nothing else but try to help these horrific situations against christians in Pakistan.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  kinelll086

I have found some reports of two Christians being tortured, one is the well known case of Asia Bibi and another of a man.
This situation has arisen over the last 30/40 years. Around 1990 we spent Christmas in Pakistan. There were Christmas trees in hotels and shops and on Christmas Eve carols were played from loudspeakers in churches.

Zach Thornton
Zach Thornton
3 years ago

Yes, my girlfriends Muslim family are loving with me and do not harbour a secret hatred for me. I think it is you and your spiteful attitude that is the problem.

Harvey Johnson
Harvey Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Zach Thornton

Well said, Zach.

steve eaton
steve eaton
3 years ago
Reply to  Zach Thornton

How would you know if it were a “secret”?

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  steve eaton

Surely one can sense hatred and most other feelings.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Zach Thornton

I am not spiteful. I just recognise what is in front of me.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Zach Thornton

Just because some are loving doesn’t prove that all are. I have heard enough hellish stories from people who have been on the receiving end to know that there is not a uniform response in the religion.

Montana Moss
Montana Moss
3 years ago

So all Muslims are at their core believers of Mohammed’s pronouncements against infidels? I am not trying to be sarcastic. I suppose one would simply not be Muslim if they didn’t. Like the Christian converts who are being persecuted and dying because they don’t follow Mohammed. Is that right?

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

They just trot out bigotry and racism.

You keep using the word racism. This is a discussion about a religion, its tenets and its followers, who can and do come from every ethnic background imaginable.

Surely you must know that this has nothing to do with racism?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Are there seriously still people trotting out the old “they’re not a race, so I’m not racist” guff ? Pete go educate yourself about race. It doesn’t exist, there are no races. I use the term as widely understood shorthand. I did also use the term ‘bigot’ just to avoid any confusion.

Zach Thornton
Zach Thornton
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Great response.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

I use the term as widely understood shorthand.

I see, you use the word to mean whatever you want it to mean.

Sorry, I don’t buy your “shorthand”. It’s lazy, dishonest and self-serving. However hard you try to pretend, disliking and being against Islam is not the same as disliking an ethnic group.

I get the feeling you – like many, many others – just like calling people racist, and this has clouded your judgement.

What you’re trying to deflect attention from is the fact the difficulties Seyran Ates is facing in her attempts to establish a peace-and-love, sweetness-and-light version of Islam and bring it into the mainstream are caused solely by the Muslims. It is Muslims who are opposing her, trying to silence her and sending her death threats, not “racists”. And reiterating Ates’ own words on this point does not make a non-Muslim racist.

Bigotry is a more suitable word to use in this discussion. But the bigotry comes from the people opposing Ates. If you were to ask them why they oppose her, they’d hold up their copy of the Koran or other Islamic scripture.

I don’t oppose Ates, on the contrary. I just think she has little chance of success, and I don’t see why I should pretend otherwise.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

There are comments on this forum calling for the wholesale deportation of Muslims from Europe.

But you’re not replying to them, denouncing the type of hateful language you might easily have seen in 1930s Germany, are you Pete?

No the issue for you is playing semantics with me over the correct use of bigot and racist.

It speaks volumes about what type of person you are

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

There are comments on this forum calling for the wholesale deportation of Muslims from Europe.

I’ve just looked through the entire comment thread. There is one such comment, which I hadn’t seen previously. So your “comments” is, once again, inaccurate.

Second, I am not “playing semantics”. Calling someone a racist without reason is not trivial. Racism has a specific meaning – if people use it to mean whatever they want it to mean, the word becomes diluted.

It speaks volumes about what type of person you are

Judging by the evidence of your other posts, you’ll assume what you want to assume, as long as it gives you the chance to present yourself as morally superior.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

You didn’t see the comment that called for mass deportation of Muslims from Europe? Isn’t that strange, I thought you were one of the people who replied to it. But I don’t see your post now.

But again my additional ‘s’ is the key issue you need to address. There was One comment calling explicitly for the wholesale deportation of Muslims and it was written by a Bigot. Happy now?

It didn’t stand out amidst a sea of tolerance and love though, did it Pete ? Par for the course, I’d have said. But you don’t care about that. You don’t care about the level of bigotry and hate here, you’d rather run around making sure any objections have dotted all their i’s.

I don’t generally go around feeling morally superior, but given some of the scumbags on here, ‘superior’ isn’t much of an achievement.

I’ve been reporting this publication and the worst comments to various authorities as being hate speech. Hopefully there is some action taken.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

But again my additional ‘s’ is the key issue you need to address.

I think accuracy and truth are important in a discussion. You seem to think it’s fine to misrepresent other people.

It didn’t stand out amidst a sea of tolerance and love though, did it Pete ?

There is no obligation to be tolerant and loving all the time. What a fatuous idea.

I’ve been reporting this publication and the worst comments to various authorities as being hate speech. Hopefully there is some action taken.

So much for “tolerance and love”, hey?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

What he is saying is that any attempt by somebody to deal with the problem is called a racist as they are when dealing with other people type of problems in Britain. It’s standard fare for anyone trying to do some good against PC in this country.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

No, what I was saying above was that the right is plagued by lazy bigots and the left by PC idiots. It was only 3 sentences. But you couldn’t somehow make it past the second one. ‘Lazy’ bigots, see ?

maryannred
maryannred
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

There is no such thing as moderate Islam, because there was nothing moderate or enlightened about its foundational figure, and his example for all Muslims for all time. Read the abrogated Koran, and the sira and hadith, and talk to some apostates to learn the inconvenient truth.
The tenets of Islamic doctrine are expressed in the Sharia, the content of which is utterly incompatible with enlightened Western values and human rights. As Raymond Ibraham has pointed out, “While Pakistan and many other Muslim nations uphold Islam’s blasphemy laws, France and other Western nations pretend that Islam has no blasphemy laws. After all, to acknowledge that Islam does indeed call for the punishment and death of those who blaspheme against Muhammad”to say nothing of any number of other “problematic” sharia stipulations, such as death for apostates ” is to be “Islamophobic.”.
Yes, there are Westernised Muslims who don’t want to live under or impose the Sharia, but the truth is that they are simply not following or practising Islam, and for that reason they will always be hated by orthodox Muslims (who are wrongly called “extremists”), and never reform the belief system. Under Islamic doctrine they can only be regarded as apostates, just as, under Islam, blasphemy, not beheading blasphemers, is the crime – such beheadings are simply the execution of Islamic law. Why do most orthodox Mulsims not enforce the Sharia death penalties in the West? Because Islam teaches that Mulsims can obey “kuffar” laws until Islam has grown strong enough to take over and mandate Sharia for everyone in a country – that way Muslim populations won’t get ejected till its too late. Similarly, Islam instructs that all Muslims should support violent jihad, but only a minority engage in it. so that there is no risk of the entire ummah and belief system being wiped out.
Western people must wake up to their ignorance and educate themselves about Islam. Read the correctly abrogated Koran, the sira and the hadith, and there are many excellent sources including this one https://www.cspii.org/ to help. This little book, aimed at people who know what Islam is, and want to explain it to others, is very good https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ge
And here is some food for thought:
http://www.faithfreedom.org
http://www.citizenwarrior.c

Stephen Crossley
Stephen Crossley
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

After each Islamist atrocity many on the right (including yours truly) cry “where is the outrage from the moderate Muslim community?!” I applaud Seyran Ates for standing up on behalf of that community and hope that she fulfils her ambition of opening a mosque in the UK. It can only help to bring understanding between communities here.

My passionate hope would be that it becomes the focus of moderation around which the peaceful majority of British Muslims can coalesce. For the sceptical among you, if it is rejected by British Muslims you can take solace in the knowledge that you were right all along.

kinelll086
kinelll086
3 years ago

it will mean the shias and sunnis take a break from killing each other and just kill her and her “kaffir” muslims

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  kinelll086

The Sunni and Shia are not in a constant state of war. They don’t agree on basic tenets of Islam but they live in separate countries and generally don’t mix. So there is not need to “take a break from killing each other”.
The sect which is more disliked is the Ahmedi which we only heard about because a Sunni travelled some distance to murder one Ahmedi.

Michael Cowling
Michael Cowling
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Try Afghanistan. The Pashtun are Sunni, while the Hazaras are mostly Shia.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago

“Younger Muslims in Germany and the UK ” home to some 3 million ” are desperate to join the fight against Islamism but fearful of the consequences.”

Really? All I see is an alien culture that is antithetical to liberalism and progress, no matter how loosely these terms are defined. I can see no real difference between Islam and Islamism. It is a manufactured distinction that has no basis in reality.
Islam and its “ism” is your problem, so don’t try and make it other people’s. The only way that I can see for muslims to be accepted in civilised society is for them to renounce Islam. Until they have done that, I will keep them at a distance.
Just look around the Islamic world. Who on earth would want to be part of that?

Harvey Johnson
Harvey Johnson
3 years ago

I can see no real difference between Islam and Islamism. It is a manufactured distinction that has no basis in reality.

So, by that token, do you see any difference between anti-abortionists, rampant paedophilia and mainstream Christianity?

How about Zionism and Judaism?

Or Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists and Buddhism?

Erasing the important distinction between an entire religion and the politicised manifestation of it is a really slippery slope, and it doesn’t lead anywhere particularly pleasant to put things lightly.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Harvey Johnson

Atheists and Bolsheviks

Harvey Johnson
Harvey Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Indeed. The distinction is important.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Harvey Johnson

Atheists and Bolsheviks might be an apposite equivalent, except for the fact that atheism has no dogma, no rules for life, no commandments. Atheism is simply not believing in any god.

It’s perfectly possible to be an atheist democrat, an atheist anarchist, an atheist Bolshevik or an atheist fascist.

It is undeniable that Islam is the most politically minded religion out there. It contains specific instructions for the establishment of an Islamic society. It contains specific rules on how non-Muslims should be treated in that society.

Christianity’s “Render unto Caesar” is signally lacking in Islam.

Sure, many Muslims may not want to bring about this Islamic society, and I can’t blame them, because it would be a miserable and brutal way to spend your life. Sorry to Godwin, but there were also Nazis who didn’t particularly like murdering Jews or expanding German territory through warfare. That doesn’t alter what Nazism was, though.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Harvey Johnson

The religion and its politicised manifestation are the same thing.

M Dibley
M Dibley
3 years ago

Islam is a faith of 1.4 billion people, Islamism is not a form of the Muslim faith or an expression of Muslim piety.

Rather, it is a political ideology that strives to derive legitimacy from Islam. Islam and Islamism are not synonymous.

If they are so, please explain the daily, palpable tension between the two – embodied through Muslim families disowning sons that flee to join Isis, or fathers turning their sons into the authorities for planning violence, and general disagreement and distaste of Islamism among many Muslim communities. Abu Hamza wasn’t the most loved cleric in the UK, let’s face it.

I’d conduct some research into Mr. Umaru Abdul Mutallab – the father of the failed Christmas bomber – if I were you. Maybe it’ll mature your perspective a little bit.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  M Dibley

Islam is a political ideology. You will find no separation of state and church.

“Maybe it’ll mature your perspective a little bit.”
Just a childish insult.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

I’ve needed 24/7 police protection ever since my book, Islam Needs a Sexual Revolution, was published in 2009.
this encapsulates the heart of the problem – it’s not the UK, it’s within Islam itself. When one group of Muslims threatens another group of Muslims with violence over thoughts and ideas, it’s not hard to say that this religion/ideology is incompatible with the West. The one bright spot is that moderate, even liberal, Muslims apparently do exist, after all.

You’ll excuse my skepticism, having rarely heard from them in the aftermath of the latest jihadist atrocity. And what few critics from within have surfaced are duly shouted down by leftists in the West, which takes irony to a weapons grade level.

jonathan.simon2020
jonathan.simon2020
3 years ago

Seyram Ates deserves to be supported for her stand.

ard10027
ard10027
3 years ago

What the author is doing will not take off to any meaningful extent because it is anathema to the nature of Islam in a way that separation of Church and state is not anathema to Christianity. I’m sorry, but she hasn’t a hope of making this fly, as much as I’d like it to, and I’m speaking here as a Christian. Islam doesn’t acknowledge any distinction between Church and state and the day it does it will stop being Islam. The Turks tried to have a secular Islamic country, but even after three generations you still ended up with Erdogan. It won’t work.

Julia H
Julia H
3 years ago

Unfortunately media outlets such as the BBC and Guardian are too busy falling over themselves to promote hijab wearers and denounce so-called islamophobes to notice that they are championing only the conservative face of Islam. Women who are Muslim but don’t wear the hijab are completely ignored while those who do are lauded for every achievement: “first hijab-wearing judge/jockey/boxer/model” etc. Young people need to see modern Muslim role models. Instead our society is normalising and encouraging the most socially conservative practices of the religion. Look for example at the Labour Party permitting its meetings to be sex-segregated.

Harvey Johnson
Harvey Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Julia H

You know, French and British colonisers also encouraged Muslim women to remove the veil and ’emancipate themselves’ to emulate European women.

Consequently, in North African and Middle Eastern countries, the veil became a symbol of national identity and opposition to the West during independence and nationalist movements – understandable hatred of colonialism was something that united both moderate and extreme Muslims and was why the resistance movements were so successful – but also so fractious.

As a result many moderate Muslims also occasionally (or always) wear a hijab out of respect for their heritage, their family, or just for fashion – in the same way many casual Christians wear a cross or visit Church during Easter. If Christians want to have casual sex, or wear a cross and go to Church once a year, what right do we have to stop them? By the same token, if moderate Muslim women want to wear a covering, what right do we have to stop them?

Women who are Muslim but don’t wear the hijab are completely ignored

Yeah, because Baroness Warsi is routinely ignored. Mishal Husain is one of the BBCs most prominent news reporters – what – because she wore a hijab at her job interview?

This is just arrant nonsense dressed up as faux-concern for Muslim women.

Labour Party permitting its meetings to be sex-segregated.

Again, nonsense. Please send me the link to back up this assertion.

Teo
Teo
3 years ago

:where is the UK? distracted by the act of stifling the social and political mobility of the indigenous population which bizarrely they consider more of a threat than “political islam”.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

What if we don’t want any Islam, whether it is in wolf’s or sheep’s clothing?

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Sidney Falco

We don’t always get what we want! I am glad to live in a country where there is freedom of religion which means I can’t choose for faiths other than mine to be banned.

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

So you’re ok for Aztecs to start sacrifices on Hampstead Heath then?

Dominic Straiton
Dominic Straiton
3 years ago

Sorry but I have no time for “liberal muslims”. Im to busy looking back in anger at the normal ones cutting peoples heads off, stabbing gays in parks, blowing kids up, murdering people on bridges, driving trucks into people, mass shooting people etc etc. Id prefer them all to be sent packing out of Europe before its all to late.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

I’d prefer the bigots of all stripes and denominations were sent packing. You want help with your case?

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

And Sottish nationalists
Don’t forget them

Johnny Sutherland
Johnny Sutherland
3 years ago

As a Yorkshireman who “emigrated” to Scotland I’m in favour of that. Forget the packing just out will do.

Dominic Straiton
Dominic Straiton
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

blah blah blah.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Kevin, you are a classic Left Wing Nut Job.(LWNJ).Just give it and us a rest?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

I thought I’d called out the left (above) for their overzealous views and misguided tolerance. But I guess the blinders make it difficult for you to read, Mark.

Or maybe it’s too soon after your morning meds.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

“Hate keeps a man alive”, as you have clearly demonstrated Kevin.

Harvey Johnson
Harvey Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

That’s pretty rich considering the OP’s ‘argument’ above, one which you seem quite happy to defend.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

“Or maybe it’s too soon after your morning meds.”
Always a marker for the underage poster, Kevin.

Harvey Johnson
Harvey Johnson
3 years ago

Oh dear. Strange that there are wall to wall upticks for classic, lazy ‘throw them all out’ bigotry, and any dissenting view to this frankly batshit position is routinely voted down en masse. Looks like Unherd is very much a right-wing cesspit after all – in the discussion section by any measure.

So much for ‘challenging the herd with new and bold thinking in philosophy, politics and culture.’

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Harvey Johnson

I was rather surprised at the tunnel vision.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Harvey Johnson

How do these ‘throw them all out’ comments even stand ? I’ve reported them to the Mods and they do nothing. If this isn’t hate speech, what is ? Don’t forums like this need to follow some guidelines for decency? Shame on you Unherd

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

The whole issue of cancellation and the mysterious “hate speech”, so beloved by the social media platforms and mainstream media, is one of the main reasons Unherd was formed in the first place, Kevin. Best keep away from such tactics for everyone’s sanity, including your own.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

I think you will find it harder in the UK.
In theory we are meant to be a Christian country, but the number of people who attend church is quite small.
The view of most people is that our rather weak Church is of no importance.
Consequently, we are baffled by a religion that takes itself seriously and just hope that it dies out with time.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Islam is not religion. It is a political and legal structure. Worse than that, it is a very long-term, global power play. And if you think it’s going to die out, you will be very disappointed.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Islam is going through a Reformation as Christianity did.
Just give it a couple of hundred years to calm down. Like Christianity did.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

so maybe long after we’re all dead Islam will move out of the 12th century?

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Yes. But it will be in the lifetime of others and they may well have even worse problems!

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Fraser,
You may well be correct, but wasn’t Christianity a political & legal structure once?
Unfortunately it took 2000 years to loose it’s importance in England, if, on the same timescale, Islam takes another 650 years to die out, we may be in trouble!

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

No, as I’ve commented earlier, it may take much less time than 650 years!

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago

Fraser’s point is that the original scriptures of Islam prescribe a political-legal-religious system. The teachings of Christ in the New Testament do not – in fact they abrogate the politics and legal system of the Old Testament, in favour of personal responsibility. This is true whether one believes in either Islam or Christianity, or not. However the trick is that both systems can be used politically, as well as for both good or evil, as history has amply shown us. Despite the peacefulness and love of the message of the New Testament one wonders if it gives any more chance for peace and love than the Quran in the hands of us humans.

Daniel Goldstein
Daniel Goldstein
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

We live in hope!

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Islam is both a religion and a political and legal structure. The laws regarding jihad are based on some of the oldest original texts of the Koran.

kinelll086
kinelll086
3 years ago

I am not going to abuse you, I will leave that to your fellow muslim brothers and sisters . The violence and hatred in the `Koran cannot be wrong as according most muslims it is the literal word of god. How about you and your fellow muslims deal with the radicals. You and your fellow “liberal” muslims are a 5th column, the radicals are just the military part of Islam. I and many other people in the UK will NOT submit to Islam and the word “islamaphobia” means nothing.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  kinelll086

There is a great deal in the Koran which echoes Christianity and Jesus is recognised as a prophet.

kinelll086
kinelll086
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

both are fairy stories, one is harmless

Martin Harries
Martin Harries
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

On page one of the Quran – page one – it mentions ‘those who anger Allah’ and ‘those who have gone astray’. Islamic dogma is promoted all over the world and it teaches that ‘those’ people are Jews and Christians respectfully.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Harries

Quite possibly. I’ll take your word for it, I’m unable to read the original Arabic.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Oh, please. This old trope that someone has to be a scholar of 7th century Arabic to understand the Koran is pathetic.

Are we supposed to believe that Arabic the only language in the world that defies translation?

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

I was speaking personally.
There are numerous translations of the New Testament. The meanings can vary I believe and then there are the books which have been discarded.
Whatever that passage from the Koran says Islam has not been a threat to Christians until the last few decades when the Taliban and IS appeared on the scene.
As I said earlier on here, in 1990 we were in Lahore at Christmas and Xmas decorations were in hotels and Christmas carols came over loudspeaker from the churches.
No problems then so Islam has not been the constant threat for centuries which some on here are saying.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Sorry, but you’re changing the subject. Your reply to the OP can only be understood as meaning that your inability to read the original Arabic prevents you from knowing what the Koran says. That is simply ridiculous.

I simply can’t understand why so many intelligent people will go to such lengths to defend the religion of Islam, even if this requires them to fake ignorance or play dumb.

Again, nobody is saying that all Muslims want to kill non-Muslims all the time. Nobody is saying that no co-existence is possible.

That, however, does nothing to change the fact that Islam’s holiest scripture contains explicit instructions for Muslims to shun, deceive, subjugate or kill non-Muslims.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

I don’t believe in reading any religious scripture because they are all open to endless interpretation leading to interminable circular discussion.
“The Devil can quote scripture for his own purpose”.
I am speaking from personal experience, unlike most on here.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Harries

Exactly. Nabeel Qureshi has written about this in his book, ‘Answering Jihad.’

Martin Harries
Martin Harries
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Passages in the Koran are often awkward and poor regurgitations of Judeo Chrstian folklore. You can’t have passages like 5:51 (won’t find THAT ONE in the Bible!) in the Quran and then pretend that Islam is not a threat to Europe.

Paul
Paul
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Harries

It is interesting to read the various “justifications” and “explanations” of this Surah which can be found on the Web put there by Islamic teachers
(To save those who do not know it from having to look it up it says-
“O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people.”) .
You will find that it us just impossible to find a rational argument. Ah, you don’t understand the Arabic. Ah, you have taken it out of context. Ah, it only applies in times of war…… Etc etc
I am always reminded of discussions i had many years ago in the USSR regarding Marxism Leninism etc – they could argue the hind legs off a donkey because they “knew” all the details and texts. But all of this was irrelevant – they were just fundamentally wrong and trying to argue with them was just playing their game.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Harries

It’s a threat at the moment and may well be for decades to come. But it has not been a threat to Europe since Spain drove it out.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Harries

Probably the translator of the version you read lacked skill

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Sure, but the Koran has its own, utterly original elements as well: such as explicit racism towards Jews, an obsession with unbelievers, a “founder” who committed murder and kept slaves, including sex slaves, and repeated injunctions to shun, deceive, subjugate and kill unbelievers.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

But the definitive belief of Christianity is that Jesus is not a prophet. It is that he is the messiah promised to Abraham.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

As we all know, the answer is ‘No’. All of the authorities, much of the media, and some of our main political parties, are all in thrall to Islam. Thus we are witnessing, in real time, the way in which Islam has conquered so much of the world over the last 1,400 years.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

As I may have said before, don’t worry the Chinese will have Islam for breakfast. They are already on the ‘Weetabix’.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

I agree that China is our only hope against Islam. But that is a little like saying ‘Well, Stalin is better than Hitler’.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Exactly!

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

“in thrall to Islam”
It’s symptomatic of the decadence of late stage Liberalism. “I’m so liberal I’m happy to tolerate illiberalism”, something like that.
Adrift from it’s roots in Christianity and reason, liberalism is completely lost and dangerously flailing about looking for meaning and purpose where it will never be found.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
3 years ago

There might be plenty of people who have criticisms of Islam and concerns that mainstream Muslim opinion on a number of issues is categorically at odds with what the rest of us might deem basic, liberal values. But it is an extraordinary – and unwarranted – leap to go from that evident and demonstrable truth to get to the idea that any such criticism constitutes “Islamophobia”.

This is a lot of what stops a healthy and necessary discussion about Islamist extremism, and when you place that on top of liberal Muslim’s unwillingness to denounce their more extreme co-religionists, you end up where we are.

Ron Kearney
Ron Kearney
3 years ago

I applaud the writer’s intent and bravery in encouraging Muslims to think for themselves and not be told to mix up a first millennium middle Eastern culture with a faith. The Christian church, prior to the reformation was similar, as the people were told what to believe and what to do, as they were largely illiterate. This resulted in the demonisation of Jews and the Crusades, along with the excesses of the Holy Roman Empire in forcing new world conquered countries to become Christian. Turning back to the core beliefs of any religion, sifting out cultural and historical additions and biases, dogma and teaching added in order to maintain power and influence of the teachers, can only be good. One only has to look at the US, where the so-called Christian community has given such support to an amoral and immoral president who is a stranger to truth and cares only about himself. The church should be vehemently socialist in caring for the needs of others. Where I live, the local mosque and the Sikh community have done great work during the COVID crisis, providing meals for those in need and many Christian churches have run food banks to provide free food. That’s my sort of religion.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Kearney

Nice comment

kinelll086
kinelll086
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Kearney

We need to be patient for about 400 years, then Islam will maybe catch up

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  kinelll086

It may be sooner, Christianity only took about 300 years to stop the burning and hatred.

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago
Reply to  kinelll086

Excellent observation and spot on!

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Ron Kearney

“The church should be vehemently socialist”
Christianity is, in the most fundamental way, completely different from the collectivist ethos; what you have described is charity not socialism.
Christianity’s non materialism, it’s insistence on the personal, it’s rejection of envy and resentment is the reason most socialists have no time for it.

From the sublime Sermon on the Mount: “your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”
“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”
Here’s a great wee clip, “I’m a Christian and a Marxist”. https://youtu.be/fvmn1wLglak

Martin Harries
Martin Harries
3 years ago

What has Islam ever done for us?

But this time one can’t laugh.

In what way does Islam – quranic/mohamedic values – enhance European life? In what way does it enhance the lives of anyone apart from give paid work to Imams? Did Euorppeans think, “blimey, we haven’t got any Islam, we’re missing something”? Erm, “No!” Are the jihadi barriers that now suround all Eurpean Christmas fares a welcome addition? Erm, “no!”

Seriously, what does Islam bring to the table that is new (Certainly not that there may be only one god) or that one wishes to consume?

What has Islam done for the Egyptians? People from all over the world visit Egypt to see the remnants of the fine work of the polytheists – work which certain corners of Islam would gladly blow to smitherines.

This author seems a good egg. She would be an even better egg if she were to drop her Muslim membership and organise positive apostasy classes. No one can promote the Quran with passages such as 5:51 and suggest that it is compatible with European values.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Harries

Your questions are valid. However, if the Quran is true (which I don’t believe it is) Islam doesn’t have to enhance European life, bring anything to the table or do anything for the Egyptians. Its truth would be independent of these.

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Harries

I find it rather ironic that I am now going to defend Islam, since I am not exactly enamoured with it in our contemporary world! Please go and read about the Golden Age of Islam during the Abbasid/Umayyad Calpihates (c750-1258), and you will find out how much Islam did contribute to the West and its progress toward the Enlightenment. The one small fact that Arabic was compulsory into the 18th century for completion of a Masters degree at Cambridge University might indicate that Europe does indeed have a rather significant debt to Islamic scholarship and culture.

Martin Harries
Martin Harries
3 years ago
Reply to  Dan Poynton

Muslims conquered Europeans who thereafter lived under Islamic jurisdictions. It was Europeans / Persians who continued the Greco – Roman traditions then under Muslim jurisdiction that brought the so-called Golden Age. It had nothing to do with scholarship of the Quran which contains nothing new of interest philosophically. Compare what the Greco-Romans were accomplishing in the centuries before the Muslim Imperial conquests to those in the Arabian peninsula. Little to Nothing of technical or philosophical merit emanated from the polytheistic, later Muslims lands, of Arabia.

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Harries

I’m certainly not going to get into an endless argument with you about the history of Islam and Europe – it is a rich and complex topic. However I will say that, because of the threat Islam does now pose to the West, I used to be more than keen to agree with roughly what you said about Islam’s influence on the West until I researched the history with open mind. Yes, of course Islamic culture was indebted to Greco-Roman and Persian culture (you left out Christian, Hindu, Egyptian and Judaic and others), and they continued to be influenced and work alongside the knowledge of these cultures in the Golden Era. If you see Islamic culture as being partly involved in this overall development toward the Enlightenment it may help you to see it from this point of view. Yes, I also feel empathy for and anger about all the Christians (and others) enslaved by Islam, and fully recognise the terror it created in its great conquest for empire – that is all a function of empire. But don’t worry, I’m right behind my ancestors, the Crusasders. I also find Islam is severely outdated and is simply not suited to exist alongside Western culture at this time. Finally please do not confuse the Quran with Islamic culture as a whole, just as one should not confuse the Bible with Christian culture as a whole.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago

If you want to lead a sexually libertine, Mohammeddean cult, feel free. But you can’t call that Islam. Insisting that you’re leading a “reformation” only works if you have followers who want reform. Sure, wealthy, European Muslims say they want a liberal faith that can coexist with their Western consumerist lifestyle, but they are a minority who would be considered apostates by almost all Muslims elsewhere in the world. And not without good reason.

Liberal American Christianity is facing the same problem. As weird as it sounds, your position on sexuality and sexual ethics is the best predictor of whether your kids will be Christian. Short form: if you’re in an LGBT-friendly church, your kids will likely be agnostics. Meanwhile, your conservative Catholic neighbors are 1) having more kids, and 2) keeping them in the faith.

I do not know much about liberal vs conservative Islam, but I expect the pattern to be similar: why bother with a God who demands nothing?

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago

I think she should be supported and encouraged.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Of course she should. Instead of vilifying the whole religion we should be standing up for moderates and helping them become the face and voice of their church. It’s only lazy thinking and bigotry that stops that happening.

(If only some bigot would reply and give me a perfect example…)

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

There is no moderate wing.
It’s a bit like standing up for moderate Nazis – Some of them were vegetarians and could be kind to animals, and even children (providing they weren’t jewish).

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

You’re a self-professed atheist, coming from a Jewish background, with the benefit of a Western education. Presumably you’re not filled with bile because of the middle East conflict (you make no reference to it). Yet you hear no discordant clanging in your head when you preach intolerance against a huge swathe of humanity purely based on their religion. No memories from history class jolt you….no stories from grandparents… not even the Nazi comment you make above. No bells ringing, nothing.

They’re the wrong religion, that’s enough for you.

People amaze me sometimes.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

standing up for moderates and helping them become the face and voice of their church

That’s a nice sentiment and all, but there is no chance of that happening. It’s mere wishful thinking.

Islam is not the same as other religions: it seeks political power on earth, its scripture claims to be the literal word of god and its instructions and injunctions are supposed to be immutable for all time. Criticism of or even questioning of any of its tenets is forbidden. Its scripture is openly racist and encourages violence.

Unlike Buddha, or Christ, it is almost impossible to portray Mohammed as a peace-and-love hippy.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Is the Bible not the word of God? Or the Torah? Can’t you find many biblical pages with specific instructions to smite your enemies and dash their babies heads against the wall? Don’t the overwhelming majority of Muslims live peaceful, law abiding lives like every other religion?

You’re correct that there’s absolutely no chance of moderate Muslims, like this woman, becoming the dominant voice if we just shout them down as all being the same.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Kevin, You have no knowledge of any of these religions, so why are you here at all?

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago

God ? Darwin ? Freedom of speech. Intolerance of racists, bullies and bigots . You know, the usual stuff.

I didn’t realise it was ‘Polly’s Theology Class for Bigots” ( you should put up a sign). I thought it was an appeal by a moderate Muslim cleric to help her out. To help give voice to the moderate majority in her community. She’s come to the wrong place here though obviously.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

????
The entire bluddy article and the comments on it are about theology.
You are an idiot and I will not respond to you any further

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Intolerance of racists, bullies and bigots .

If you are truly intolerant of racists, you must necessarily be against Islam, which has the dubious distinction of being the only explicitly racist religion.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Is the Bible not the word of God?

Oh, come on. It is an almost universally held belief in Islam that the Koran was dictated word for word to Mohammed by an angel of god. No such claim exists in connection with the Bible.

Can’t you find many biblical pages with specific instructions to smite your enemies and dash their babies heads against the wall?

Of course there is violence in the Bible, including Old Testament episodes where god perpetrates violence on various people(s) and violent and brutal punishments prescribed in the Old Testament for various transgressions.

But there are two key points here: i) in mainstream Christian dogma, the Old Testament maxim of “an eye for an eye” is superseded by Christ’s “turn the other cheek”. The New Testament is more peace-and-love than the OT. ii) The Bible does not encourage believers to shun, deceive, subjugate and even kill other people simply because they are unbelievers.

While the New Testament is more peace-and-love than the Old Testament, in Islam the message becomes more intolerant, harsh and violent over time. Jesus did kill anyone or order anyone’s death. Mohammed did. He also kept slaves, including sex slaves. Mohammed is viewed as having led “the perfect life” and to be the supreme man worthy of emulation.

It is completely wrong to claim that all religions are basically the same. I can’t help suspecting that you actually know this. Anyone with any knowledge of Christianity and Islam knows this full well. (By the way, I’m an atheist, not a Christian. There is a lot that is vile in Christianity and many vile things have been done in the name of Christianity, but the teachings of Islam are far worse, in my opinion.)

You’re correct that there’s absolutely no chance of moderate Muslims, like this woman, becoming the dominant voice if we just shout them down as all being the same.

You misrepresent me (not surprisingly, after you’ve misrepresented Islam and Christianity as well). I am not shouting her down. She is getting shouted down by other Muslims, as the article makes clear.

Gary Cole
Gary Cole
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

The Old Testament (smiting and bashing), with the odd commandment, is purely historical record and the prophecy of the dead; the New Testament (love and forgiveness) is the guidance for the living. Most people know the difference.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Gary Cole

The Old Testament is not “purely historical record” to the Jews. It’s a way of life.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

You are right Giulia, but it is a historical record. For Christians it is a historical record in which the ritual and ceremonial law, such as dietary laws, not wearing mixed fabrics, no tattoos, have been superseded by the death and resurrection of Christ but the moral law remains the same.

kinelll086
kinelll086
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

No the bible is not the word of god it was not transmitted to a camel trader from god, a person who could neither read or write. Christianity was not spread with the sword and as far as I can see christians do not act or even discuss the violent bits in the bible. The bible was written by humans some of it years after jesus died, Like the koran it is a fairy story

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  kinelll086

“Christianity was not spread by the sword”
Really? So when Jesus is quoted as saying
“I bring not peace but a sword” what did he actually mean?

kinelll086
kinelll086
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

please link to where in the bible it says that

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  kinelll086

Matthew 10:34 – try to keep up!

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

Thanks I was going to have to check it online!

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

In the context it is a metaphorical sword that separates friends and loved ones. Christ is saying that his teaching demands a decision and the consequent differing values and goals will separate people resulting in conflict.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Is the Bible not the word of God?

Stop pretending all religions are the same. The Koran is supposed to have been dictated, word for a word, by an angel of god to Mohammed. This claim is not made of the Bible.

Jesus and Mohammed, each held up as an ideal to emulate by their respective religions, are not the same. Jesus wasn’t a warlord, he didn’t have anyone murdered, and he didn’t keep slaves, including sex slaves.

You’re correct that there’s absolutely no chance of moderate Muslims, like this woman, becoming the dominant voice if we just shout them down as all being the same.

You’re correct that there’s absolutely no chance of moderate Muslims, like this woman, becoming the dominant voice if we just shout them down as all being the same.

Having misrepresented religions, it’s no surprise you’re trying to misrepresent me. It’s not me who is shouting down Seyran Ates – it’s other Muslims, as the article makes clear.

What I say about her will have absolutely zero impact on whether hers becomes the dominant voice, as this is a discourse that takes place entirely within Islam.

kinelll086
kinelll086
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

No it not lazy thinking and bigotry stopping that it is the vast majority of Muslims who consider her a Kaffir

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  kinelll086

Do you know the vast majority of Muslims ? You see stuff on the TV, crowds of men in scruffy clothes, they equate to the sans culottes. The noisy rabble. They are not the vast majority.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

To reform the faith, she would have to have power in the faith already. Luther was able to start a Christian Reformation because the Church already respected him as an accomplished theologian. She has no such credentials.

A celebrity in the European press corps, but among actual Muslims… she’s a nobody.

If you really want to reform Islam, there are far more effective vehicles than “the first female mosque leader in Germany.”

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago

She’s trying to integrate Muslims into civic life. Of course she should be supported and encouraged.

thedialalama
thedialalama
3 years ago

Excellent article, what about Britain? Sad to report political fear as well as political correctness allowed children to be abused for decades. Standing up against, or challenging a perceived ‘athodoxy’ seems unlikely, unlikely no matter how much that authodoxy presents dangers to our society. The silence, from both sides of the ‘argument’, here in the UK, is deafening.

Dave H
Dave H
3 years ago

I wish you luck, but you will be fought at every turn by the ignorant on the right, while the left will decry any moves like those in France as illiberal, and any moves to combat islamism as islamophobic.
Can you imagine the outrage we would see in the guardian if Johnson started to talk like Macron has been?
(It would be worth it for that alone…)

attaleuntold
attaleuntold
3 years ago

In a sense it’s similar to the debate between Young Earth Creationists and mainstream Christianity, but with death threats,AK 47s and other assorted violence.
In the end it is all about belief in supernatural rubbish and who controls the purse strings that fund those who wish the continuance of such idiocy.
If one wants democracy to thrive, religion can’t be banned. However, until such time as humanity properly grows up, secular democracies can certainly nudge it in the right direction by implementing legislation that recognizes the harm religion does and ensure it is contained in an ever shrinking sphere of influence.

Perhaps all that is missing is the political will to do it?

Teo
Teo
3 years ago

After being culturally traumatised into assiduously engaging in the Islamic jurisprudence debate, you wake-up one morning intellectually battered, bruised and demoralised to the call to prayer emanating from the newly established mosques liberally scattered across your home town. Incoherently you call the local council to complain about being inconveniently woken up form the sleep you need to fulfil your virtuous mission, a destructive life changing call that will attract a prosecution under the draconian islamaphobia laws that you advocated for in the name of tolerance. The rest is history!

Charles McEwan
Charles McEwan
3 years ago

It is not sensible to try and change a religion. If the religion is wrong, leave it. This lady is wasting her time and using up police resources which are extremely expensive. Her whole career has shown that even now after many decades she has made no success because religion is not politics. This has been going on for 1400 years. People who believe in a merciful God follow His laws. If the teaching is not merciful as in the case of Islam, you need to recognize that fact and then ask the question “Do I make my own man made belief system or do I search for the belief system that truly comes from a merciful God?” The idea that you can change a religion is the basic thrust of Marxism which believes all religions are false and when the state gets involved in trying to change the religion then you are into totalitarianism. Modern states have been aggressively targeting Christianity because it is pro-life and does teach peace even to our enemies so in effect this policy is a veiled attempt to impose the idea that religion comes under the authority of man and God is pushed out.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Charles McEwan

Many people have changed Christianity, Luther, Tyndall, Calvin etc.

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Agree. Islam needs to grow up and it can’t take the centuries it took Christianity to grow up.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

Forty years ago my Communist Pakistani brother in law said to me “Islam needs a revolution like Christianity had.”
He meant to clear out the superstition and medieval thinking. I think it is now going through the revolution but the clearing of ancient ideas will only come with time and enlightenment .

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Islamism is like Christianity was in its 15th century. We can’t afford to wait 6 centuries.

Getting behind liberal Muslims, regardless of our own beliefs, which are in no way threatened by truly liberal Muslims offers some hope that throwing rocks at Islam denies us. I don’t currently see another viable way to challenge and protect ourselves from Islamism that does not end up with a war on Islam, which would be WW3.

GA Woolley
GA Woolley
3 years ago

Ms Ates project is good in so far as it goes, but, of course, it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Islam is balanced on the knife edge of its fiction of the Koran being the perfect, final, and unalterable word of its god, and Mohammed being his final, and perfect, messenger. Any crack in those ‘perfections’ risks bringing the whole appalling edifice down. So a ‘liberal’ mosque goes just far enough to threaten the repressive and misogynistic elements which prop up the powerbases of husbands, fathers, clan leaders, ideologues, imams, ayatollahs, sheiks and their clients like Erdogan, without recognising that the hate speech, intolerance, threats and incitement to violence, as well as the ignorance, inconsistencies, and contradictions of all man-made beliefs and ideologies are still there.

Daniel Goldstein
Daniel Goldstein
3 years ago
Reply to  GA Woolley

Agreed, it’s a charade; but after over 1300 years, it hasn’t progressed much, so perhaps this is a small improvement?

David Foot
David Foot
3 years ago

Islam has been found to be incompatible with Western values in European Courts, Islam is not just a cult but a political state within a state, obeying an infernal body of legislation from the VI century. It behaves very similar to a virus in biology which not being a full blown state aims to take over the one it infects. It uses elements of our social contract against us like minority rights and democracy to impose tyranny in the fullness of time, this tyranny will have no minority rights and no other law.
There was another aspect to Islam, which were the conquering armies of the Calif and to go by what we have just seen in Syria and Iran such a state would be the enemy of all states and incompatible with the existence of any state with a different law, this doctrine is very sympathetic to what may be a political religion of Marxism. Both tyranny generating doctrines can walk together a long way in the practice of their ideology and this must not be ignored (Black Lives Marxists).
A long time ago, when the Islam of the Calif, it was a very different system evolving in an advanced society way, and had the most advanced scientists but I won’t go in to this because that is not they way in which Islam has evolved,it has stifled science and knowledge in the Islam of today there isn’t a Calif buying foreign books to increase knowledge, there is an Islamic State burning them.
What is so perplexing today with France is that a system which gives us PUBLICATIONS of so much aggression and insulting descriptions of those of us who reject it, Islam has no problems publishing all these evil things about us, and now should have the ignorant arrogance of “being offended” if all we reply to these politics of hate, is with some innocent, accurate political cartoons against the politician who said such bad political things about us and all what he proposes should be done with us and how we should be treated!
We must not only stand with France, we must stand proactively with France if necessary we should all print the cartoons on to our currency!
After all, whose law should be observed and be sovereign in France?
Who is free to speak and publish in France? Only the Moslems?
Even though we reject these terrible ideas of Islam we allowed these heavily indoctrinated people to share in our society only to be told that we must come to heel and respect he who said these terrible things or else!
One solution: Japan doesn’t have jihady murderers because it protected its people from that threat, we should learn from Japan if we want freedom to prevail we may have to sacrifice a bit of it and ban tyranny.

Mark St Giles
Mark St Giles
3 years ago

Macron was right to remind us that Islam has not always stood for illiberal and inflexible views. Consider 9th and 10th century Baghdad whose advances in philosophy mathematics, astronomy, science and medicine made it the Silicon valley of its age. Ibn Kaldun, Abverroes and Avicenna must rank mong the most influential thinkers in history not like the screaming idiots who seem to inhabit the Islamic world today. Christianity was rescued from the narrow bigotry of the middle ages by the reformation and the enlightenment .Islam has had neither. and even seems to have regressed.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark St Giles

Christianity is much easier to reform than Islam.

Find me Islam’s equivalent of “Render under to Caesar…”. Of course, the Catholic Church and other Churches don’t want to give up their power, but it’s much, much easier to take exception on specifically religious grounds with Christian hunger for power.

Second, Christianity is concerned with personal salvation, while Islam is simply concerned with making Islam the dominant ideology. There are many features of Islam that make this clear: the death penalty for apostasy, the ban on Muslim women marrying out of the faith, the requirement for non-Muslim women marrying Muslim men to convert to Islam, the ban on criticism of or even critical thinking about Islam, the commands to fight for Islam etc.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

Only in the 21st century. It was not easy in the 16th.

Anthony Devonshire
Anthony Devonshire
3 years ago

Most commentators here are just bigots.

Did you all have the same thoughts about the Catholic Irish during the Troubles?

Point is most people just want to live peacefully whether Muslim, Catholic, Hindu. It’s the extremists and like on here, the bigots, who shout the loudest. It’s always the way. The paradox, and what they don’t, won’t, understand is that they are not really all that different.

polidoris ghost
polidoris ghost
3 years ago

Nobody is shouting louder than you Anthony.
And nobody is shouting less coherently than you.
Calm down.

Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey
3 years ago

Ok, since we’re all “not really that different”, you’ll be moving to Saudi Arabia next week? The weather is quite nice there this time of year.

Stop trying to gaslight us. How many murders and massacres do you need to witness in order to “understand”?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

You should audition for Archbishop of Canterbury. We need a replacement for the present incumbent.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago

Nobody is more bigoted than the left winger who shouts racism – or that stupid made-up word ‘Islamophobia’ at anyone who dares to challenge the repressive nature of Islam, or to poke fun at it.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

That is true. The Left carries a lot of the blame here. They shut down a lot of the conversation in the name of religious tolerance. Macron is a case in point. He’s more likely to be derided as an Islamophobe by the left, instead of backed to the hilt in his attempts to ensure a tolerant, secular society. Having said that, as we see here, the Right is full of bigots who blame every Muslim man, woman and child for the actions of a tiny handful of nutjobs.
It’s the increasingily polarised views that prevent constructive dialogue.

Caroline Galwey
Caroline Galwey
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Where is this ‘Right’ of which you speak? What power does it wield?

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Having said that, as we see here, the Right is full of bigots who blame every Muslim man, woman and child for the actions of a tiny handful of nutjobs.

If that’s true, it won’t be hard for you to quote several posters who have literally “blamed every Muslim man, woman and child for the actions of a tiny handful of nutjobs”.

And importantly,, the opposition against Seyran Ates is not confined to “nutjobs”. It’s from prominent Muslim organisations such as – and I quote – “Turkey’s main religious authority”and the “Egyptian Fatwa Council”.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

There are lots of “stupid made up words” such as homophobia, transphobia.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

I do dislike that euphemistic term “The Troubles”. What it referes to was a vicious, cruel, even sadistic war waged against the British using often indiscriminate terrorist attacks as the chief weapon.

People seem to have forgotten that this was only in the recent past. My workplace in London Docklands was among the many buildings wrecked by the 1996 bombing. The newsagent where I bought my papers and snacks was destroyed and the two young Asian guys who ran it were both killed outright. This was destruction on a large scale.

Interesting that you mention the Irish Catholic. I have a considerable Irish Catholic elements in my family [who doesn’t?]. I was disgusted by the fact that they were always able to find ready excuses for IRA atrocities ““ references to the potato famine, the wearing of the green, the Black & Tans etc. Oh! Let’s not forget NORAID ““ active fundraisers for the Irish Republican cause (financing terrorism?) on the other side of the Atlantic.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

Did you all have the same thoughts about the Catholic Irish during the Troubles?

Find me the teachings in Catholic Christianity that instruct believers to wage war against an occupying force. There are none: there is no religious justification for the IRA’s actions.

It is the teachings of religion that are central to this article. Unfortunately for the author ““ whom I applaud and consider brave ““ there is an awful lot of Islamic dogma standing in the way of her ambitions.

There is nothing bigoted in pointing out that Seyran Ates and her ambitions are heavily outmatched by a massive counterforce of religiously sanctioned bigotry.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago

Perhaps the muslims have seen the corrosive effect that liberal thinking has had on Christendom and the more purist elements among them are desperate to avoid the same fate. I can understand their revulsion at the prospect of their religion declining into just another set of humanist ethical codes, their accompanying social norms and incessant scholarly debates about “the true meaning of Islam”.

The instincts of the fundamentalists are correct. Do you believe your religion is the will of God or just a set of good ideas on how to organise society? Without the supernatural element religion is a hollow shell.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

That’s very interesting. In essence you empathise with the fundamentalists, because at least they’re being true their faith. Is that correct?
You’d like Christianity to have more of the same strength of conviction?

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Not correct. I’m an atheist.

I thought I was making the point quite clearly but for the benefit of trigger-happy keyboard warriors here it is in condensed form:
Liberal thinkers and moralists do not grasp the importance of the supernatural element in religion. Without that understanding liberal intellectuals will forever find themselves at a loss when faced with those who believe they are living by the revealed truth of the will of God.

Kevin Ryan
Kevin Ryan
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Many liberal thinkers and moralists were brought up with religion before rejecting it. So they do have an understanding of how it functions. Why is Firebirds comment “Marxist boilerplate” ? The central tenet western democracy is built on is “live and let live”. People can believe any old tosh they want in their private lives as long as it doesn’t impinge on the liberties of non-believers. Fundamentalists of most creeds, not just islam, reckon you’re damned in the long run, but so what?

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Ryan

Religion as fairy tales?
All religions a hollow shell?
Supernatural elements manufactured to pacify ignorant peasants?
A useful means of social control?

Sure sounds Marxist to me! All that was missing was a reference to religion as “the opium of the peoples”.

By the way, democracy is losing favour among the activist Left (Goodness me! It just empowers populism). How long will it be before (in the interests of public safety, of course) people are no longer permitted to “believe any old tosh in their private lives”?

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

‘Without the supernatural element religion is a hollow shell.’

All religions are a hollow shell. The supernatural elements were manufactured to pacify ignorant peasants in the days before science – and also serves as a useful means of social control.

If people insist on believing in fairy tales one can’t stop them – but we can insist that they keep their beliefs to themselves and don’t impinge on anyone else’s human

rights.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

Sounds like a load of Marxist boilerplate to me. Do you ever take the time and trouble to think things through before venturing an opinion?

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

I’m not a Marxist. And who are you to determine whether or not I think things through? I think you have an axe to grind, maybe you are a religionist yourself and have come on this thread to show us all the error of our ways – and impose your backward neanderthal views on the rest of us.

I believe religion should be kept in its proper sphere – in the domestic setting and out of the public and political sphere.
Including religion in equalities legislation was the biggest mistake ever – it has encouraged religious zealots to seek dominance as equality is not good enough for them.
Political beliefs don’t have any protection under the law – why should religion?

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

You sound quite upset but there really is no need to be. You replied to my comment with a criticism and I responded to that. All part of the cut & thrust of vigorous debate ““ although “backward and neanderthal” is a bit harsh!

As for my suggestion that perhaps you don’t think things through before commenting ““ well, a bit of a bugbear of mine is the commentator so eager to express himself that he dashes out a “stock” opinion in response to something he has barely read.

I’m not sure how well you understand religion if you think that Christianity and Islam, both great missionary religions, would agree to be kept out of the public sphere.

Religion, as other ethical/political systems, provides a means of effecting control over a community. People are persuaded or forced to live by a common moral code (ie. a set of customs and laws). It is the supernatural element that gives religion its authority ““ the will of God. Non religious systems have to rely on such debatable concepts as “the common good”.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

No, the ‘more purist elements’ wish to impose fundamentalist Islam upon the whole world. And they will succeed. A de-Christianized western state such as those created in Scandinavia and north-western Europe is infinitely preferable to the Islamic states that will replace them.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Indeed, as is we must all know by now, the much touted “peace of Islam” is the peace which follows total conquest of the world ““ an apocalyptic time when all have “surrendered” (the true meaning of Islam) and it’s time for Allah to wind up the whole project ““ rewarding the faithful and punishing the infidel.

That day is unlikely ever to arrive. Down here in the real world muslims remain intellectually on the defensive against the successful achievements of the “de-Christianised” enlightened West. If Allah values the faithful why has so much been granted to the infidel? A bit of sophistry required to answer that one!

However, with the coming of “generation woke” (to coin a term) those achievements are in danger of being squandered. If Islamic states do replace the northern European states it will be a consequence of the collapse of the West rather than a glorious triumph of the East. Unless, of course, you regard mass migration as in some way heroic.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Kiran Grimm

Perhaps the muslims have seen the corrosive effect that liberal thinking has had on Christendom and the more purist elements among them are desperate to avoid the same fate.

Islam has criticised and denigrated Christians and Jews ever since its inception. It didn’t have to wait for nominally Christian countries to permit homosexuality before stipulating that Christians should be second-class citizens.

Kiran Grimm
Kiran Grimm
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

The point you raise is valid (the Dhimmi class and all that) but it seems to me that muslims have felt particularly threatened by the undoubted attractions (and worldly power) or the liberal, post-Christian West.

vince porter
vince porter
3 years ago

When does militant merge with hypocrisy? How many devout Muslims leave the corruption of the West each year and emigrate to that bucolic paradise of sand and sun, better known as Saudi Arabia?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  vince porter

This is a false argument when you understand that devout muslims are here in order to Islamise the West. That is why they are happy to live in what is, for the time being, a non-Islamic society.

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

You’ve both got very valid points there, Fraser! Sweet irony.

Peter Kriens
Peter Kriens
3 years ago

What would have happened if Luther had rejected one or more of the ten commandments? Could he have refuted God’s word that came down from mt Sinai?

For Muslims, the Quoran is literally Allah’s word, like the ten commandments are for Christians. By softening the many harsh parts of the Quoran you start with violating its core tenet. A reformed Islam is no longer Islam because it must break its most sacred commandment.

If you look close at many Muslim countries you will see a staggering illiteracy rate. If you look closer you will find this is often caused by a discrepancy between the spoken and written language; mandated by the use of classic Arab. Learning to write requires children to learn a foreign language first. That staggering price reflect the value that too many Muslims put on this tenet.

Luther never attacked the ten commandments. If he had, he would be long forgotten.

It is interesting how many people react here without the slightest knowledge of where Islam and Christianity differ. They have so little knowledge of the details that to them they look just the same. I guess at 30.000 foot a wolf and a sheep look very similar.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Kriens

Unfortunately the vast majority of poor people cannot afford education. The Saudis have taken advantage of this by setting up madrasas in which imams teach the fundamentalist version of Islam and boys learn the Koran by rote.

Peter Kriens
Peter Kriens
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

And these boys are being forced?

One thing that people that ignore the details do not understand how much ISIS is the ‘protestant movement’ of the Islam. More versed in the Islam than the main stream. Which allows them to shame other Muslims for not having enough piety.

This excellent article in the Atlantic gives some idea:

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

Rote learning of the Quran is common in the UK also; it is seen as a necessity by many devout Muslims.

a.druggan
a.druggan
3 years ago

Unfortunately many Politicians in the UK are so enamoured of the doctrine of Islamophobia they see every critical appraisal of Islam as “racist” etc.Utterly foolish and,as evinced by Rotherham/Rochdale etc,in some circumstances positively malign.This conflation of criticism with “racism” is very useful for some politicians IE Humza Yousaf while stifling debate on what needs to be discussed.Sadly I cant see this changing in the short to medium term.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

This is a very interesting perspective on a very nasty issue but IMO we are faced with a conflict of priorities both political and religious, which has lead many of the well-meaning down the wrong road, set others adrift and allowed hate-mongers to set up shop.

The first thing that needs to be done is political and Macron at least recognizes it.
Any religious belief system that demands its adherents to place secular law below religious law and further demands that it is incumbent upon ‘true believers’ to do violence against ‘enemies’ within and without, can not and will not be accommodated, welcomed or sanctioned in a western liberal democracy.

Most western politicos have, by cowardice or intimidation, abandoned this key principle and we are now paying the price.
Quite simply, Western liberal democracies can, should and must render themselves completely unwelcoming and inhospitable to a belief system that spawns these cowardly attacks.
Going all wobbly in the knees because someone yells “Islamophobia!” is just not acceptable.

At the same time we must be prepared to recognize and welcome those that are willing to forego the violent medieval features of Islam because practicing ‘Islam Lite’ is a small price to pay for access to the vast array of advantages offered in the West.
Islam has enjoyed “have your cake and eat it too” status for far too long.

Ms. Ates gets it but this can only work if her community steps up.
“Most followers of Islam are peaceful” is not anywhere close to the response we should be getting at any time let alone after an attack.
If there is to be a viable future in the West for moderate Islam then Ms. Ates and friends need to work harder on their own and with government to make the West a place that followers of medieval Islam simply won’t want to be a part of.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
3 years ago

It can’t do any harm to have liberal mosques if it helps curb the threats of violence by some sectors of Islam to anyone who disagrees with the way they interpret the Koran. However I think that Poland and Hungary have the right answer which is not to let any Muslims into their countries. We were warned in Britain about it by Enoch Powell but didn’t listen and have had to live with the consequences, but I do hope some solution is thought out in Britain which is only a hope at the moment.

David Smith
David Smith
3 years ago

The Christian Bible says thru Paul in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”
Does the Quran haVe a similar text or sentiment?
Faith is taking confident action in what God has made known to you
I would say that if you change your actions to suit the world, contrary to what God has made k own to you, then your faith is in the world and not in God And so why do you need a Mosque or a Church or. Synagogue – just for tradition?

Michael Cowling
Michael Cowling
3 years ago

The Islamic world has made many contributions to “Western society”.

Most of the texts from the Greek-Roman world that survive were kept alive in places like Baghdad and Cordoba. The Renaissance in Europe was probably brought about by Europeans coming into contact with their own historical culture through contact with the Middle East. So the culture of the British civil service has passed through the Islamic world.

The “discovery” of America by Columbus and the voyage of Magellan may well have been based on maps coming from the Middle East (e.g., the Codex Masudicus).

People like Avicenna were the best sources for medical knowledge for centuries, and the Pfizer vaccine against coronavirus was developed by a Muslim start-up.

Of course, most of these examples suggest that the Muslim world has been static for quite a while. Friends living in Vienna tell me that Austria grieved over the loss of the Austrian empire for most of the last 100 years, and some are still grieving. The same seems to be true in the UK, except that the empire was the British empire and the time-line is slightly different. So why should we be surprised if there are people in the Muslim world who are nostalgic? There are suggestions that Islamism began in the 1900s as a reaction to the conquest of various parts of the Islamic world by Europeans.
It seems to me that one of the big differences in the last fifty odd years is that the Saudis and gulf states now have lots of money. If you had travelled in Indonesia 50 years ago you would have seen very few women with covered faces: now it is not unusual. And the Indonesians will tell you that the imams coming from Salafi-Wahhabi schools in Saudi are bringing about the change. They promote fear of the “other” just as extreme right and extreme left groups in Europe or the USA do, it’s just that the “others” are different.

So let us welcome efforts to incorporate modernity into Islam. Brava to the author!

Dan Poynton
Dan Poynton
3 years ago

Yes and let us not forget the wonderful Averroes/Ibn Rushd, patron of this wonderful mosque! I grieve for present day Islam when I read of the societies it produced in the Golden Age of the Abbasid and Umayyad Caliphates. All Muslim children should be made to fully absorb this part of their heritage, and to aspire to this as their “normal” rather than the tribal, brutal, bigoted and primitives forms of Islam that we so often see today.

Michael Butcher
Michael Butcher
3 years ago

Many, many Muslims are just the same towards their religion as ordinary members of CoE. Reassuringly boring, just wanting to get on with their everyday lives, not particularly interested in theology and cultural Muslims more than practicing Muslims. These ordinary, decent, people are regularly smeared by being associated with outrages by those termed “Islamists”. Macron is a past master at this – see https://www.independent.co….

VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
VĂłreios ParatiritĂ­s
3 years ago

I have long said that the politicians in the West need to communicate that our countries are safe for Muslims and Apostates. To favour one over the other is self defeating and empowers religious extremists.

Diana Durham
Diana Durham
3 years ago

Britain does nothing else!

Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
3 years ago

I applaud your courage and hope you do not literally lose your head for it. How can decent people of the UK of all faiths and non faiths best support your cause in UK?