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.