Muhammad Abdul Bari, the former Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), has published an article titled “Islamophobia and Violent Extremism: Tackling the Twin-Menace Head On” that highlights the Global Muslim Brotherhood strategy of obscuring the dangers of Islamism while trying to position its affiliated organizations and leaders as allies in the fight against Al Qaeda and related groups. The relevant section of Dr. Bari’s article is as follows:
Faith and conviction cannot be burnt by the flames of hatred.
With Lee Rigby murder on 22 May our country faces two major political and social challenges of our time that need tough handling by all of us, the government and citizens, with resolve and wisdom – one, the utter criminality cloaked under the guise of politics or religion by a few deranged individuals in the periphery of the Muslim community who are putting the whole community on the dock; and secondly, the violent response from far right activists that frightens Muslims and divisive narrative by some columnists that poisons ordinary people’s mind against the Muslim community. Both are dangerous and they need to be challenged head on; they feed on each other.
Lee Rigby’s killers were known to be linked with the extremist group (Al-Muhajiroun) that was banned a few years ago. The group re-emerges in variant forms with the same message of hate and as far as I am aware, mosques and Islamic centres up and down the country are a ‘no go area’ for this group; the Muslim community has ostracised them, but sadly some of our national media provide them with disproportionate oxygen of publicity for probably offering sensational news to people.
On the other hand, the far right group (English Defence League) that emerged in 2009 with some football hooligans had organised series of violent protests against mosques across the country. Thankfully, they have also been ostracised by the mainstream society and the political establishment.
In order to defeat this twin-menace we need to be careful on our words and language; they matter, especially if they come from senior public figures. Our former Prime Minister Tony Blair who has a strong ideological view on Muslim issues (‘There is a problem within Islam…’) has recently made a ‘brave assault on Muslim Extremism after Woolwich attack’; this has the potential of further undermining the positive work done by the Muslim community and also giving ammunition to the far right group. Tony Blair took us to a disastrous war against the will of majority British people in 2003; he, according to Prof John Esposito from Georgetown University in Washington, has misread Muslim terrorism.
Read the entire piece here.
By juxtaposing violent Islamic extremism with violent rightwing extremism, Dr. Bari manages firstly to avoid the larger issue of Islamism, the politicized political ideology pioneered by the ideologues of the Muslim Brotherhood and represented by the Global Muslim Brotherhood today. To fully understand the nature of Islamism, an earlier post recommended a book by Syrian-born scholar Bassam Tibi titled “Islamism and Islam”, described by Amazon.com as follows:
“Despite the intense media focus on Muslims and their religion since the tragedy of 9/11, few Western scholars or policymakers today have a clear idea of the distinctions between Islam and the politically based fundamentalist movement known as Islamism. In this important and illuminating book, Bassam Tibi, a senior scholar of Islamic politics, provides a corrective to this dangerous gap in our understanding. He explores the true nature of contemporary Islamism and the essential ways in which it differs from the religious faith of Islam.
Drawing on research in twenty Islamic countries over three decades, Tibi describes Islamism as a political ideology based on a reinvented version of Islamic law. In separate chapters devoted to the major features of Islamism, he discusses the Islamist vision of state order, the centrality of antisemitism in Islamist ideology, Islamism’s incompatibility with democracy, the reinvention of jihadism as terrorism, the invented tradition of shari’a law as constitutional order, and the Islamists’ confusion of the concepts of authenticity and cultural purity. Tibi’s concluding chapter applies elements of Hannah Arendt’s theory to identify Islamism as a totalitarian ideology.”
Buy it here.
Much as the Obama Administration as done, by defining the issue only as violent extremism Dr. Bari not only avoids the uncomfortable subject of Islamism but ironically also the extremist ideology behind the English Defense League which recently has formed a strong alliance with prominent anti-Islamic bloggers Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.
Further irony is seen in Dr. Bari’s warning “to be careful on our words and language” given the extremist speech reported to have occurred at the East London Mosque which he chairs, not surprising given the the many ties to Global Muslim Brotherhood represented at that location. According a report by the Center for Social Cohesion, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) operates out of the East London Mosque and shares many of the same trustees and senior management which includes Dr. Bari, who as noted above is a former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). It should also be noted that the London Islamic Center, an $18 million facility built in 2004 that houses both the IFE and the East London Mosque, also contains the offices of Muslim Aid, known to have been a member of the the Union of Good, a worldwide coalition of charities headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi that helps to raises funds for Hamas. According to the Daily Telegraph, the IFE has placed sympathizers in elected offices including gaining significance influence over a local government council.