Over the past 20 years the national conversation about British Muslims has moved in the right direction. We now separate the “Islamist” from the “ordinary” Muslim. To realise there are “bad” and “good” Muslims is a helpful step on the national journey to ‘social cohesion’.
I am still hearing the criticism: “We never hear Muslim leaders condemning Islamism!” My answer to that is: “Says who?”
I say that because there’s a question we need to ask: “Are you listening out for it?” Voices have been there for some time but in the past – as a rule of thumb – the media tended to de-emphasise and side-line the views of “good” Muslims who are condemning Islamism. So while “fair-minded” Muslims tried to speak out, the media forced them to take to social media and end up only talking among themselves; rather than being heard in public space.
The resistance of course is that a “good” Muslim was an odd concept to the public while friends of mine have told me they would trust their lives to a Muslim they know. A “good” Muslim spoils the popular narrative that all Muslims agree with violence, repression and coercion and the imposition of shari’a law in Britain.
In all the sadness of the past three months, one positive outcome of the series of attacks is that more Muslims have found their voice in protest against Islamism. Here is one such statement:
LONDON BRIDGE TERRORIST ATTACK
Statement from the Muslim Council of Britain
I am appalled and angered by the terrorist attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market in my home city. These acts of violence were truly shocking and I condemn them in the strongest terms.
Muslims everywhere are outraged and disgusted at these cowards who have once again destroyed the lives of our fellow Britons. That this should happen in the month of Ramadan when many Muslims were praying and fasting only goes to show that these people respect neither life nor faith.
My prayers are with the victims and all those affected. I commend the work of our emergency services working hard to keep us safe and cope with the ensuing carnage. As ever we urge everyone to assist the authorities so these criminals can be apprehended and brought to justice.
Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain
4 June 2017
While this is good, I know of a number of Muslim leaders of “real” influence (as opposed to most of the ones the authorities think have it). It’s these hidden individuals who stay in the shadows at all times; they may be questioned when they travel overseas but they are otherwise left alone. Such leaders say nothing in response to Islamist atrocities which speaks volumes.
Such people should be interned for avoiding their civic duty which is anti-social behaviour. If they are known to say inflammatory things privately or publically, they should have their passports taken off them. It’s time to get tough.
It’s time to pray!
Steve Bell is the National Director at Interserve GB & Ireland. A mission leader, analyst, trainer and author, Steve is a recognised cross-cultural communicator with 35 years’ experience in 100 countries. Steve is author of Friendship First, Grace for Muslims and Gospel for Muslims and co-edited Between Naivety & Hostility. Steve is married to Julia, a senior teacher and they are “owned” by a mentally deranged Siamese cat called Izzy.
You can find Steve's blog at graceformuslims.org