08 July, 2006

Muslims not doing enough to tackle extremism, says Blair :: Daily Mail

Muslims not doing enough to tackle extremism, says Blair:

He said: "The Government has its role to play in this, but, honestly, the Government itself is not going to defeat this.

"If we want to defeat the extremism, we have got to defeat its ideas and we have got to address the completely false sense of grievance against the West."

Mr Blair went on: "In the end, Government itself cannot go and root out the extremism in these communities.

"I am not the person to go into the Muslim community and explain to them that this extreme view is not the true face of Islam."

The Prime Minister added: "I profoundly disagree that the problem here is that the Government hasn't acted.

"We are not having a debate of a fundamental enough nature within the community, which is where the moderate majority go and stand up against the ideas of those people, not just their methods.

"You cannot defeat this extremism through what a Government does. You can only defeat it within a community.

"People should stand up and not merely say, 'You are wrong (but) you are wrong in your view about the West, you are wrong in your sense of grievance, the whole ideology is profoundly wrong'."

Extremism would not be defeated "until you challenge that at its root in the community".

He went on: "People kind of say, 'We understand why you feel like this but you are wrong to do these things'. You are not going to defeat it like that.

"You are only going to defeat it if you say 'You are wrong about these things'."

13 per cent of UK Muslims believe July 7 bombers 'are martyrs'


bandicoot said...

Defeating extremism is a joint battle, where the efforts of both sides are needed. Governments (Western and Islamic) and decent Muslims in every capacity have a responsibility to do much more and show more involvement and courage. Yet I think Blair's essentially valid call was weaken by his unfortunate statement about Muslims’ “completely false sense of grievance against the West.”

I wish the prime minister was more specific. It’s true that Muslims can exaggerate and misunderstand issues relating to their grievances. It’s also true that such claims are often used to advance extremism and terrorism. But painting all Muslims grievances with the same brush as false is an example of self-deception. I actually don’t like this general characterization of Muslims vs. the West (though at some level this may be an unavoidable simplistic net result of reality). I think it’s much more useful to speak of grievances in concrete terms.

For example take the Iraq war and see if this was/is a legitimate or false grievance, for whom, against whom, what does it mean, and how can we deal with it in a rational and legal way. This is one issue where, if there was room for a grievance, it’s clearly one that shouldn’t be pointed at the “West” in general.

Yes, Muslim leaders have generally failed to address this issue and the younger and more open-minded generation of Muslims need to step in and nurture a culture of democracy, hope, integration and moderation; the troubling 13% statistic makes that all the more urgent . But Mr. Blair and his friends also need to wake up and do an honest accounting of their leaderships. It would be naive though to think that they will do that; at least not any time soon.

bandicoot said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bandicoot said...

I found this linked article in the ‘Aqoul blog very relevant and informative:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060624/ap_on_re_eu/europe_s_silent_muslims. The Lounsbury’s introduction to it and readers comments are found here:

trailingspouse said...

"I actually don’t like this general characterization of Muslims vs. the West". Bandicoot, you are so right. The "us" and "them" mentality is not just unhelpful, it's downright dangerous. What about all the Muslims born and living in the West? Aren't they Westerners too? All this pigeonholing og people is getting me down.

Muhammad Azeem Akhter said...

It is crucial to find out if there are any grounds for grievance among Muslims in United Kingdom (UK)? Whether these grievances are based on facts or perceptions? There has been a long debate in the West about reasons of resentment and alienation among non-white migrants and particularly among Muslim youth since September 11. Therefore, it is vital to find out answers to this important debate, because, it will determine the policy direction of the West to manage this resentment and alienation.

Usually, levels of resentments in any community are a reflection of its economic, political, and social conditions... Read More

bandicoot said...

One blog I found through akhter's post where there seems to be an interesting debate of the issues involved is here.

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