Kommentar

Hva sies i fredagsbønnen på i den store moskeen i Leeds, når imamen henvender seg til ungdommen?

So there has to be a huge purging of language, a careful sifting of what is legitimate from what is evil. And whenever the evil is found, it must be punished. At present, the trend is still the other way. The language is like a river in spate – muddy, turbid, full of flotsam and jetsam.

This muddle of language is not confined to the extremists, and therefore is not easy to isolate. The Leeds Grand Mosque, for example, is, so far as I know, a 2_kommentarstream institution. Its leaders have readily joined in the condemnation of the London attacks.

But if you read their Friday sermons you find that running through many of them is a constant streak of paranoia, dark talk of a wicked «Great Middle East Plan», of «threats and conspiracies which are devised against Islam».

One sermon on «youth», young men like the three down the road who planted the bombs, tells the teenagers at which it aims how marvellous were the military conquests carried out by the young followers of the Prophet and how today «Your Islam, your religion, is being targeted».

No, sermons like this do not say that the hearers should go out and kill people, and no doubt the preachers do not believe that they should, but they do not say that they should not kill, and they stoke up anger. How much can you incite anger, and then throw up your hands in horror when young men take their rage to a bloody conclusion?

On the Today programme on Thursday, Inayat Bunglawala appeared on behalf of the 2_kommentarstream Muslim Council of Britain. He condemned the «killing of all innocent people» which sounds fine, but leaves room for dispute about who is innocent and allows you to get in your pitch about other killings.

Sure enough, Mr Bunglawala’s next shot, unprompted, was to attack Israel for making «nauseating» political capital out of the blasts. Asked about the support for suicide bombing by a leader of the Muslim Association of Britain (an affiliate of the MCB), he said that «I understand why he feels such pain for the Palestinians».

Asked why his MCB colleague had attended a memorial service for Sheikh Yassin, the spiritual leader of the terrorist organisation Hamas, Mr Bunglawala said that Yassin had been a «renowned Muslim scholar».

Translate the muddy language. The murder of British citizens is seen as an occasion to criticise Israel. Support for suicide bombers, though regrettable, is in effect defended; and one leader of the bombers, it is said, should be respected in death, because he was a Muslim scholar.

What is happening to a religion when its scholars are telling people to kill others and themselves? The BBC is notoriously shy of using the word «terrorist» about people who plant bombs: would «renowned Muslim scholar» be a useful substitute?

I said earlier that we are not facing a direct threat from another nation, but one does notice that, for western Muslims, the word «nation», in sermons and teaching, seldom means the country in which they reside and of which they are usually citizens, but the faith of which they are a part.

A warning from the past that the BBC does not want us to hearBy Charles Moore