Debating Londonistan

When political Islam takes on a violent face, obfuscation is the worst way of handling the matter

Two recent books on the rise of militant Islamic fanaticism in Britain have (unsurprisingly) found themselves under attack. A few weeks ago a talk by Melanie Phillips, author of Londonistan was misrepresented by Khalid Hasan, a Pakistani journalist (linkthanks Swami Iyer). And now Ziauddin Sardar, a British writer of Pakistani origin, has come out strongly against Anthony McRoy, author of From Rushdie to 7/7: The Radicalisation of Islam in Britain for suggesting that it is the identification with a global ummah that caused second- and third-generation British Muslims to take to terrorism. In the process he gets into a mudslinging match with Salman Rushdie.

Amardeep Singh suggests that the storm that Sardar is stirring up is just a case of an insurgent ‘South Asian’ intellectual going after an established one as a route to fame and recognition. This may well be the case. But only partly. For it is not at all unreasonable to conclude that people like Hasan and Sardar are not only in denial, but by their indiscriminate criticism are actually obfuscating the presence and the actions of the fanatical and extremist elements in their communities. By dubbing those who point out the religious dimension of terrorism carried out by Muslim youth as anti-Islamic, Hasan and Sardar only reinforce the “us vs them” mentality that they are presumably disputing.

Related Link: Melanie Phillips’ blog and excerpts from an interview in Foreign Policy magazine

4 thoughts on “Debating Londonistan”

  1. Nitin,

    One can understand where these gentlemen are coming from.

    But what about the deluded intellectuals of west for whom any analysis (leave alone criticism) of role of Islam is a signal to cry islamophobia, unless it is to blame west (meaning GWB and his band of post-modernist crusaders) for exploitation of “Ummah”. Any intellectual who dares to cross inane boundaries of political correctness is denounced as Huntingtonian.

    I think the West (especially Europe) has gone soft with wishy washy pontification substituting for rational and dispassionate analysis. This is a civilization which exults in self abuse and self flagellation.

    It is ironic that it is immigrants (and muslims to boot) like Ayaan Hirsi Ali & Salman Rushdie who are most vocal critics of radicalism in Islam.


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