In the Telegraph yesterday, Zia Haider Rahman essentially wrote the other half to my article on Ruth Kelly’s announcement – the part that British Muslims also need to play in tackling religious extremism.
While the study identifies the perceived public disparagement of Muslims as one cause, any Muslim reading the report should focus on the observations about the Muslim community’s own failure: “The appeal of radical groups reflects, in part, the failure of traditional religious institutions and organisations to connect with young people and address their questions and concerns.”
This work can only be done if British Muslims take responsibility for what is going on in their midst rather than persisting in pointing the finger of blame at external causes. Radicalisation might well owe something to a perceived culture of criticism of Islam, but a Muslim culture of victimhood will obscure the need for Muslims to take responsibility for those things that they – and they alone – can actually change.
Not before time, the self-appointed leaders of the Muslim community (the Muslim Council of Britain, to name one), have come under fire, but it will be necessary for Muslims to organize under a leadership that has a mandate and therefore authority not only to voice the concerns of the community but also to lead the community in the direction of integration and of making Britain home.
This myopia and lack of leadership was made abundantly clear in my recent exchange with Inayat Bunglawala. The MCB is unpopular with Muslims not just because it’s been seen as a Labour lackey, but also because it contributes to this disconnect between the youth and ‘community elders’. And it’s funny that while organisations such as MPAC keep campaigning for Mosque leaders to open up and be more accountable, they never say a bad thing about the MCB (which represents them, is full of the same attitudes and is the only body that could currently push such change). Oh I forgot, Asghar Bukhari and Inayat Bunglawala have been mates for years.
Also read academic Tufyal Choudhury’s paper on The role of Muslim identity politics in radicalisation which Zia references above.
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Filed in: Current affairs,Muslim,Organisations