Tuesday, 7 June 2011

British Muslim extremism....

Dear Friends
The bottom line is that my community suffers from many socio-economic malaises and extremism is one of them. Personally I feel that the root cause of this phenomenon is identity crisis coupled with unemployment. And successive generations of community leaders, across the length and breadth of the UK, have miserably failed to help in the process of integration and have merely enjoyed the patronage of government. 

The only reason why I am not a gun toting ‘nutter’ or potential suicide bomber, high on a diet of Islamist thinking is due to extensive travel and exposure especially in the Muslim world and a cosmopolitan education. Sufism has helped and continues to widen my horizons and personal experience of God. Thus I have had epiphanies in weird and wonderful places such as in People’s Park in Berkeley; California USA, and very recently on the Great Wall of China. The ‘other’ remains important in my religious practice and without my fellow Quaker, Vedantic, and Zen friends I would have a poorer existential experience.

Therefore it does not surprise me that the Con-Dem government is coming out ‘all guns blazing’ and demanding that British Universities should do more to prevent the radicalisation process. Some young Muslims are definitely vulnerable as they do not appreciate the dynamism and context of the Quran, and ground reality when attempting to understand the current state of the Muslim World. Although it is important to acknowledge the borderless internet is a hotbed for radicals and their message of violent hatred is a far greater threat than any angry Muslim handing out leaflets on a British university campus or highstreet.

Thus is it my responsibility to keep Muslim students on the radar? Yes because we do not want another 7 / 7. No because I teach literally hundreds of students and it is impossible to ‘police thought’. Instead organisations such as The Quilliam Foundation should and are probably working closely with the government to counter the cancer of Muslim extremism. Personally I think the government should be completely transparent about its foreign policy, Vis-à-vis the Muslim World, and undertake some sort of road show across University campuses.

Unfortunately most British Muslims have not lived and worked in Turkey which is a shining example of a secular Muslim miracle. Increasingly she is playing a vital role on the global stage especially in the G20 and NATO and should leverage its growing power to convince failed Muslims states such as Pakistan and Syria to change which are terrorist havens.

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