For years, Western analysts at all points on the political spectrum have used the qualifier “radical” when speaking about jihadis (“radical Islamists”) and their motivating ideology (“radical Islam” or “radical extremism”). The point was to preserve the fiction that Islam is a religion of peace that doesn’t teach violence against unbelievers, and that the “radicals” were twisting and misusing its teachings.
And now, in Britain’s far-Left Guardian, Ali Nobil Ahmad wants non-Muslims to accept the idea of “radical Muslims” as a good thing. He says he isn’t referring to jihad terrorists, but if his words are heeded, the effect will be greater complacency regarding jihadis, and even more hesitancy among British authorities to do anything about the problem they present. Britain will become even more prostrate before the advancing jihad than it already is.
Did the Guardian publish Nazi propaganda in 1942?
“Why it’s OK for young Muslims to be radical,” by Ali Nobil Ahmad, Guardian, February 28, 2019:
The legal and moral conundrums posed by the return (or not) of British jihadis following the collapse of the Islamic State “caliphate” has triggered renewed anxiety about the place of Muslim youth in western society. The home secretary, Sajid Javid’s populist bid to strip Shamima Begum of citizenship has heightened the pitch of an emotive debate. But little has changed in Britain’s approach to counter-terrorism, soon to undergo independent review following years of heavy criticism.
The Prevent strategy places entire communities under suspicion without necessarily being effective. European equivalents have fared similarly. A €2.5m French deradicalisation boot camp in the Loire valley asked participants to sing the national anthem, eat non-halal food and learn “Republican values” without rehabilitating a single individual.
When policymakers talk about preventing “radicalisation”, they are missing the point: there’s nothing inherently wrong with being radical. The term can simply mean rejection of the status quo. The French and American revolutions, universal suffrage and the end of colonialism all involved political subversion. Politics has long been ideological and international. (Think George Orwell and the Spanish civil war).
Yet still we talk about Muslim youth in the hackneyed language of the early 2000s, in which “radical” ideas must be neutralised through social engineering. A good (Muslim) citizenry, in this logic, is politically docile, disengaged from world affairs and discouraged from combining religion with political activism.
Muslims of my generation, growing up in the 70s and 80s, were inspired by radical ideas derived from secular humanism. Confronted with racial and social injustice in Britain, many of us found solace and solidarity in third worldism and socialist internationalism – without subscribing to indiscriminate violence.
Muslims in the UK who have grown up after 2001 have done so in an era of nihilistic surrender to the capitalist world order and the political status quo. Unsurprisingly, some have veered towards one or the other current extremes of political Islam.
Of course, the reasons hundreds were seduced by the death cult of Isis cannot be explained solely by a lack of alternatives. Recruitment was driven as much by crass adventurism and bloodlust. The public is justified in feeling revulsion towards returning marauders, whose crimes should be prosecuted with the full force of British and international law.
But the choices of a few cannot be allowed to bar generations of young Muslims from trying to change the world. Rather than view them with fear, a supposedly open society like the UK should ask how their dynamic potential can be allowed to flourish….
EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column with images is republished with permission.