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Policy Exchange produce another report promoting 'apolitical Islam'

Policy Exchange produce another report promoting 'apolitical Islam'

Categories: Latest News

Monday March 09 2009

  Policy Exchange has today published another report, ‘Choosing Our Friends Wisely‘, co-authored by the ‘ex-Islamist’ Shiraz Maher (pictured) in which it propagates an apolitical Muslim identity in Britain by denigrating Muslims for whom Islam remains a comprehensive guide to life, and promoting those Muslims whose apolitical or pro Israeli views assure a resounding quietism in British politics.

The report’s recommendations of greater transparency and greater parliamentary involvement and oversight in the awarding of PVE (Preventing Violent Extremism) funding are not new. Such recommendations were raised some months ago when Salma Yaqoob, Respect Councillor in Birmingham, urged Birmingham City Council to explain its decision to award public funds to individuals and consultancy groups without due consultation with the city council or on any evidence based assessment. The controversy was sparked by Birmingham City Council’s invitation to Ed Husain who is universally derided as a government stooge by British Muslims. Strangely, this episode doesn’t feature in the 109 page PX report that critiques decisions that have subsequently been made in PVE project funding to other groups and individuals.

Husain, curiously, is singularly recognised by the PX authors as worthy of citation. Comments made in his book, The Islamist, are repeated in the report as benchmarks against which individuals and organisations in the UK are to be assessed. Bizarre, surely, for a report that urges government to dismiss with the notion of ‘gatekeepers’ to the Muslim community that another gatekeeper in the form of Ed Husain should be assembled to define groups and the legitimacy of engaging with them.

The report rejects the criticism levelled at PX by Muslims resistant to their efforts to neuter Islam by promoting apolitical and Sufi trends. It states:

‘Would this [apolitical Islam] be such a bad thing? …Do we really want more religion in politics? Do we want to see more people adopting faith based political identities?’

The Archbishop of York Rt Rev John Sentamu recently penned an article for the Daily Mail in which he wrote:

‘My challenge, then, to the 72 per cent of this nation who marked themselves as ‘Christian’ in response to the census of 2001 is that if they wish to safeguard that same Christian tradition, they must renew their faith and become actively involved in their local church.’

And the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor recently stated that ‘Our life together in Britain cannot be a God-free zone and we must not allow Britain to become a world devoid of religious faith and its powerful contribution to the common good’.

Given that the preoccupation of the PX report is Muslims, is the question being posed really, ‘Do we want to see more people adopting Muslim based political identities?’

A point which is reinforced by Maher’s comment piece in the Daily Telegraph a few weeks ago at the height of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza in which he urged British Muslims to ‘condemn Hamas, not Israel’.

It would seem that the central point of the PX report and its co-author Shiraz Maher is that a Muslim political identity is acceptable but only if your orientation is firmly pro-Israeli.


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