The ‘Islamist’

The diary of Faisal Haque, a British Muslim activist

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Madrassas to be regulated by government

Posted by theislamist on May 17, 2007

The Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly today launched a new curriculum for Muslim students who attend madrassas. Speaking in Bradford, Kelly said,

 “We cannot afford to allow our young people to be intimidated and influenced by extremist messages. Madrasas have a pivotal role to play in winning hearts and minds and supporting young people to reject the messages of extremist groups. This project ensures that young Muslim students learn the true teachings of Islam and encourages them to play an active role in their local communities and as citizens.”

There hasn’t been a huge amount of coverage about these new measures and there has been little response so far from the Muslim community. My thoughts so far:

  1. Is the intention here to fight terrorism or create a more compliant Muslim community? During the Troubles in NI it was never suggested that state control or interference in Catholic churches would have ended violence.
  2. Where is the proof of the link between terrorism and madrassahs? Despite the scarcity of evidence to prove such a link, Kelly’s intervention in religious institutions is unprecedented.
  3. There is a parallel between these new measures and the government intervention in religious communities in the Muslim world.
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Posted in Education, Politics | Leave a Comment »

What did Cameron learn from his stay with a Muslim family?

Posted by theislamist on May 13, 2007

Some of you may have read the interesting article by David Cameron in today’s Observer. He has just spent a couple of days with a Muslim family in Birmingham and states that:

We do need greater understanding of the true nature of the terrorist threat. There’s too much complacency about it among non-Muslims, and too much denial of it in the Muslim community. But our efforts are not helped by lazy use of language. Indeed, by using the word ‘Islamist’ to describe the threat, we actually help do the terrorist ideologues’ work for them, confirming to many impressionable young Muslim men that to be a ‘good Muslim’, you have to support their evil campaign.

I tend to agree with his criticism of the term ‘Islamist’. Although my blog is entitled The ‘Islamist’, I use the term as I have always equated it with Islamic activism. However, I’m not sure where the term originally came from – it now appears that it is being used to label those for whom Islam is not merely a personal matter. In Michael Gove’s book Celsius 7/7 he writes that:

Islamists are a self-conscious vanguard who look down on other Muslims and consider the majority of their co-religionists as sunk in barbarity or error.

I am a bit surprised by Cameron’s latest comments – he endorsed Munira Mirza’s Policy Exchange report that made a distinction between Islam and Islamism and controversially described those who wanted the Shariah as being like the BNP!

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »