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Martin Parsons

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    Summary: 

    In 2007 conducted by Policy Exchange revealed that 37% of British Muslims aged 16-24 said they would prefer to live under sharia than under British law, while a similar number of Muslims under 35 said they agreed with the sharia stipulation that anyone who converted from Islam to another faith should be executed.

    These findings not only clearly illustrate that attitudes to sharia are a key touchstone in defining radicalisation among British Muslims, they also point to a demographic time bomb in this respect. Previous estimates of the number of British Muslims who had been radicalised generally suggested between 13% and 15%. However, Policy Exchange’s research suggests that more than a third of Muslims aged under 35 have been radicalised. It is therefore essential that the new Government takes action both to undo the appeasement of the sharia agenda that took place under the previous Labour government and to  challenge young British Muslims that advocacy of sharia is a line that must not be crossed.

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    The essential problem for the government is to find a way of defining a specific point that very clearly delineates the start of radicalisation and that can be used as a touchstone to assesses when British Muslims and Islamic organisations have crossed it. Sharia provides that point. It is both wholly incompatible with a number of important historic British values and its implementation on Muslim and non-Muslim alike is central to the ultimate aims of both violent and non-violent Islamists. As such, it can be used not only to identify radicalisation, but also to draw a line in the sand in respect of British values that wavering young Muslims can be challenged not to cross.

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    Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat” warned the ancient Chinese general Sun Tzu reputed author of The Art of War.

    Unless we understand the ultimate aims that Islamist terrorists are seeking to achieve, then every public policy aimed at countering them will be no more than tactics, with little hope of strategic success. Fundamentally, the ultimate aim of Islamist terrorists is that Islamic law (sharia), which is the primary instrument of Islamic government, should be imposed across the entire world on Muslim and non Muslim alike.

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    As news of fresh Islamist plots hit the newspapers over the weekend, we should remember when, last month, the Prime Minister made British values central to the fight against extremism.He didn’t refer to the abstract values liberals love to promote such as ‘respect’ and ‘tolerance’ that are so vague as to be of limited value. Instead he clearly articulated historically rooted British values:

    • democracy
    • the rule of law,
    • freedom of speech,
    • freedom of the press
    • freedom of worship

    He also insisted that these apply to all regardless of their race, sex, sexuality or faith i.e. in this county we have equality before the law and one law for all, not shari’a for some and British law for others. This of course is not something new: these are historic British values because they have emerged over the centuries and become embedded in our institutions. In that sense they are deeply rooted. But too be honest, we have often lost sight of them.

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    The attack also illustrates the folly of appeasing Islamism. Recently, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Islamist Pakistan Muslim League (N) announced plans to negotiate with the Pakistani Taliban. Immediately following the attack responsibility was claimed by elements of the Pakistani Taliban, an alliance of around 30 Islamist terrorist groups who are primarily based in Pakhtunkhwa Province and the neighbouring tribal region. The Pakistani Taliban justified the attack on Pakistani Christians stating: “They (i.e. Pakistani Christians) are the enemies of Islam, therefore we target them. We will continue our attacks on non-Muslims on Pakistani land.”

    Viewed in this light the attack appears to be a clear signal from the Pakistani Taliban, that one of their demands in any negotiations with the Pakistani government will be the closure of Christian churches within Pakhtunkhwa Province, if not the removal of the entire Christian population from the province
 itself.

    Judging by his comments in the local Frontier Post, Sharif himself saw all too clearly the connection between his offer to negotiate with the Taliban and the attack on the province’s oldest Christian church. In other words far from preventing terrorism, Sharif’s offer to negotiate with the Taliban has actually emboldened them to engage in even more deadly acts of terrorism that appear designed to drive the Christian minority out of Pakhtunkhwa Province itself.

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    Since the decline of Socialism, the major ideological fault line in British politics, insofar as there has been one, has been between, on the one hand, conservativism and, on the other, various forms of liberalism – espoused bynot just the Liberal Democrats, but also in large measure by the Labour Party.

    This ideological divide is of critical importance in the fight against Islamism. I say this because there is a myth that has been propagated by liberals that the only answer to Islamism is liberalism. However, liberalism not only lacks the capacity to counter Islamism and has significantly failed to do so, but is seen by many Islamists as part of the back door by which they can take over and impose Islamic law and government on western society.The reasons for this are not hard to find:

      • Liberalism promotes diversity rather than cohesion. The essence of Liberalism is that diversity is ‘good’, and so should not just be tolerated but actively promoted. The active promotion of diversity by the last government led to various forms of support for Islamist groups that were seeking to pull people away from traditional British values such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. In other words, it was doing exactly the opposite to community cohesion, which any right-thinking person would understand as encouraging people to adhere to the values that we have historically developed and learned as a nation to cherish – such as democracy, the equality of everyone before the law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and so forth. All of these are significantly diminished by sharia, which in various aspects treats men and women, Muslims and non Muslims differently. Liberalism’s politically correct promotion of groups perceived to have been historically disadvantaged has led to the strange combination of liberals advocating ,for example, partial implementation of sharia in Britain, while at the same time supporting legislation that diminishes historic rights such as freedom of religion for other groups that political correctness regards less favourably. This was vividly illustrated during the time of the last Labour Government, when the Home Secretary went on the Today programme to argue for freedom of speech for Islamists, while only a few hours later sought to pass legislation restricting the same freedom of speech for Christians.
    1. Summary: 

       it was clear that, despite the widely presumed promise of the Arab spring, 2011 had been a year in which sharia enforcement has both spread and intensified both in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. This is part of a longer term pattern of increasing Islamisation that has been happening since the late 1970s and which has continued in 2012.

      The enforcement of sharia happens at a number of levels. The ultimate aim of Islamists is that sharia becomes the only system of law and government, with both Muslims and non Muslims alike subject to it.

    2. Summary: 

      What is happening is not a random unconnected series of events. They have historical precedent in the medieval interpretations of Islam that are termed classical Islam, which envisions the enforcement of Islamic government and sharia, if necessary by means of force, on Muslim and non Muslim alike.

      ...

      Crucial to achieving these will be combatting the spread of sharia enforcement across the world. It is in Britain’s national interest that this becomes a central feature of British foreign policy:

      The enforcement of sharia and Islamic government around the world is the central aim of Islamists – including violent Islamists. As I have demonstrated , the aims of Islamists who use the ballot box differ only in their method, not their long term aims from those of violent Islamists, as can be seen where Islamists in countries affected by the Arab Spring have used democracy as a route to power. Although how long those countries remain democratic once Islamists gain power remains to be seen.

      Once sharia is enforced lobbying by western governments is largely ineffective as it becomes almost impossible to dislodge it, as can be seen from this year’s assassination of two liberal Pakistani politicians who called for reform of the country’s blasphemy laws.

      Equally, where sharia is enforced it does not assuage the demands of Islamists as some on the liberal-left seem to assume. Rather, it gives them bridgehead from which to seek to expand sharia enforcement further afield, as can be seen from what is happening in Nigeria.

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