Isn’t Islam supposed to be a religion? Shouldn’t it be concerned with the broader issues of human existence rather than with a set of cartoons, a Dutch television documentary, the head-covers of French schoolgirls or a novel by a British-Indian author? Today the visible Islam, the loudest Islam, is a political movement masquerading as a religion. Many mosques in this country have been transformed into political clubs where Kashmir, Iraq and Palestine and “the misdeeds of Anglo-Saxon imperialism” have replaced issues of religious faith as the principal theme.
This is having appalling repercussions for community relations in the UK:
Until earlier this month most of us had never heard of the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Most were blissfully unaware, too, that the 12 cartoons published in that newspaper on September 30 last year would eventually result in a wave of Muslim protest that would lead to embassies being set on fire, posters being paraded around London with messages inciting terror and several deaths across the Middle East and south Asia. However, this vile and disproportionate reaction could change profoundly the way that British people coexist with the 1.6m Muslim minority in their midst.
These issues cannot be dealt with by attempts to stifle debate through "religious hatred" thought-crimes. They need to be discussed openly by moderates from all faiths and none if Britain is to have any hope of keeping repellent groups such as the British National Party out of power.