Gjesteskribent

Maajid Nawaz, den tidligere Hizb ut-Tahrir-medlemmet som har tatt et oppgjør med ekstremismen, gjør seg noen interessante tanker: Storsamfunnet avskyr høyreekstreme, og marginaliserer dem. De er utstøtt. Men de ekstreme innen muslimske miljøer møter liten motstand. De får være i fred, og ofte får de en god mottakelse og kan bane seg vei til strategiske posisjoner. De er en minoritet, men en innflytelsesrik minoritet. Når skal muslimene forstå faren de utgjør, spør Nawaz som har vært med å stifte the Quilliam Foundation, som motarbeider ekstremismen.

FOR 14 years Maajid Nawaz was a member of radical Islamist political group Hizb ut-Tahrir. But the law graduate, born in Southend, Essex, reviewed his stand while in jail in Egypt and now believes it is time British Muslims became more moderate. Here he explains why.

IT’S high time that we British Muslims stood up to put an end to the double standards of a vocal minority from within our ranks.

For far too long a culture of blaming others and protecting «our own» has been tolerated.

A new standard needs to emerge. Protecting «our own» means all the people of our country, not merely one religious faction.

Freedom of speech is a non-negotiable right. Just as some Muslims invoke this right when they attack freedom and democracy, others may invoke this right when drawing cartoons criticising our faith.

If Muslim sensitivities are a reason not to draw the cartoons, then others’ sensitivities are also a reason not to attack freedom and democracy.

We cannot have it both ways. Yes, people must be considerate of religious feelings but that discussion comes after accepting freedom of speech as a right.

If Muslims wish to protest against insulting Islam, let them begin with protesting Saudi Arabia’s destruction of national heritage sites linked to the Prophet Muhammad.

Freedom of religion is also a non-negotiable right. Just as British Muslims wish to invite others to Islam, they must accept the right of British Muslims to leave Islam. If our faith is so attractive, then what do we have to fear?

The right to life must also be non-negotiable. Just as British Muslims condemn the deaths of Muslim civilians in Iraq or Palestine, they must also condemn suicide bombings that kill nonMuslim civilians.

The silent barbaric logic behind killing «a child for a child» must cease. Murder is murder.

Freedom of the individual is non-negotiable. If Muslims object to the French ban on the hijab, we must also object to the «Islamist» plan to impose the hijab and ban women uncovering their hair.

Imposing religion or antireligion are two sides of the same coin. Extremism is intolerable. To remain silent in the face of intolerance is wrong.

If British Muslims expect wider society to speak out against racism and Islam-bashing, then British Muslims must also speak out against far-right ideologies that are interbreeding within a vocal and active minority among us.

If right-wing European films that show Islam to be a violent religion are irresponsible, then so are Islamist propaganda films that glorify suicide bombers in Palestine.

Theories

If Muslims object to right-wing conspiracy theories that we are here trying to «take over» these lands, then we must not tolerate «Islamist» conspiracy theories that believe that Jews have already taken over these lands.

Many British Muslims may read this and feel tired of constantly being bashed in the media. They may object and say that these views exist only in a minority of Muslims. My view is that we have done far too little, far too late, and must now play catch up.

The right-wing minority of non-Muslims are shunned by wider society until they change. They are not given legitimacy in major community centres, and if they were there would be outrage.

In British Muslims’ communities, our own right-wing minority happens to be a strong, organised and vocal minority. In some cases it even directs Muslim public debate.

I say this after having spent 14 years being a member of one of these organisations.

At worst, many Muslims tolerated my views. At best, I witnessed them spread like wildfire through the young and angry members of my faith.

Many of our «community organisations» are still headed up by ideologues with links to foreign Islamist organisations.

These ideologues run some of our major mosques. Double standards are an un-Islamic trait. The justice that our faith commands us to show to all, not just to Muslims, demands that we make more effort.

Finally, a fair reader would ask why I have not spoken out against the double standards that exist amongst the wider non-Muslim society.

My answer: I have been doing that all my life and I will continue to do so.

But my voice will be more credible and will reach a far wider audience if it is a fair and upright voice, as a Muslim is meant to be.

Brit Muslims have a duty to fight extremism