from Pantperthog to Knockando

Saturday, June 09, 2007

And this is why I’m on the NSS email list

A succinct and probably fairly accurate summary of how patronising the Government is towards 'faith groups'. But imagine if it was the Pope, or another Christian leader saying this...

Newsline Editorial by Terry Sanderson 8 June 2007

Prime Minister Tony Blair this week called on the "authentic voices of Islam, in their various schools and manifestations" to speak for themselves, and to reclaim from extremists "the true essence of religious belief."

Of course, if Osama bin Laden had been on the platform he might have said exactly the same words. Because doesn't Osama think that he is speaking with the "authentic voice of Islam"? And doesn't he consider Tony Blair to be an extremist and a terrorist – indeed, a Satanic personality?

Now Mr Blair wants to tell Muslims what "true Islam" is.

"True Islam", of course, is the kind that agrees with Mr Blair's view of the world. A world where religion can be tamed and harnessed to work with and for the state. Where everyone is nice – just like the people who attended the conference he was addressing on Monday – and only do the good things that religion dictates and ignore all the incitements to war and to hatred of non-believers. He doesn't think "true religion" persecutes women or homosexuals. He doesn't think "true religion" engages in warfare or criminal activities that will further entrench its power. In Mr Blair's
"all-things-bright-and-beautiful-world" there are lovely believers and nasty believers.

His fundamental misunderstanding is that Islam is not just another of his precious "faiths". Islam is a political as well as a religious concept. In "true Islam" there is no separation between religion and state; they are one and the same thing. Conferences and inter-religious dialogues like the one on Monday that seek to bring timid, non-political Muslims to the fore are doomed to failure. The people who need to be tamed are nowhere near such good-natured events – they are, instead, sloping around in an underworld of conspiracy theories and atrocity planning.

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