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A Muslim MP fears Islamist violence at Cofton Park

The resulting Islamophobia would be an even greater disaster

By on Friday, 30 July 2010

The Islamic Standard website

The Islamic Standard website

A Herald story last week, which I didn’t notice at the time, seems to link my last two blogs in an interesting way. I know it’s important not to get obsessive about some particular topic, otherwise you get dismissed as a loony. And whatever you write, you need at least to seem balanced. For instance, if you write against the entry of Turkey into the EU, as I did earlier this week, you must be careful not to do it in such a way as to start getting called Islamophobic.

Now, “Islamophobic” is an interesting word, with two quite distinct meanings, one of them etymologically absolutely incorrect: a phobia is a fear of something, not a hatred of it. In other words, Islamophobia actually means a fear, not a hatred of Islam. Which brings me to Anna Arco’s story last week, headlined “Police monitor internet for threats against the Pope during his visit”. That’s where my other blog comes in: for the Herald story concerned an extremist website called the Islamic Standard, which has urged Muslims to “tell the Pope just what they think of him after his insults against the Prophet Muhammad”. It also said the Birmingham event was not only a chance to “challenge these evil words of this evil Pope” but that it was also a chance to “call people away from the shirk [idolatry] of worshipping the dead like the Catholics do….”

So we may get a substantial crowd of radicalised Birmingham Muslims turning up at Cofton Park, a prospect which definitely fills me with a fear of what that could lead to. This feeling is shared by Khalid Mahmood, the MP for Perry Barr, who told a Birmingham paper that he feared the post might incite violence and even cause riots on the day. Since he is a Muslim himself, this can’t be Islamophobia: and he distances the threat entirely from true Islam.  “These supposed Muslims”, he said are doing all they can to incite violence…. This is just the warped product of warped minds and it reveals how ignorant they are about Islam.”

That’s where my own fear of Islam comes in: for I have to admit that I don’t know which of these faces of Islam is the true one. History often seems, Janus-like, to point both ways: and in the end, it is British Muslims who will write the as yet unlived history which will demonstrate whether Khalid Mahmood is right. I really hope he is: for Islamophobia, in its true sense, is the biggest potential threat of all to Muslim and non-Muslim alike. In the words of FDR, we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

  • louella

    It doesn't really matter which face of Islam is true. Both faces are probably true ie they both exist. But Islam is a false religion – so the matter of which one is 'true' is irrelevant.

  • W Oddie

    I thought it was obvious that i was saying “true” in the sense of “authentic”: in other words that this is what Islam means. This does matter, despite the fact that obviously any Catholic knows perfectly well that a religion which denies the doctrine of the Trinity, the existence of sacraments, and the Communion of Saints is absolutely false. Incidentally. it's rubbish to say that at least we all believe in the same God. They certainly don't think we do.

  • Warren

    The more I read and listen to the few muslims who speak out about their jihadi brethren, let's call them moderate muslims, the more I realize that, indeed, we do not worship the same God. I'm not sure I would start a conversation by calling Islam “false” to the face of a muslim of goodwill, though Islam surely is false from the perspective of the Gospel. Similarly, I probably wouldn't begin by hacking down Anglicanism to an Anglican, even though as a Catholic I understand that all Anglican orders are utterly null and void. Yes, sometimes we have to use concise, strong language. The approach we employ must consider the feelings of the person, but feelings should not ultimately restrain us from presenting the truth to someone whose soul and afterlife depends on our clear announcement of the Gospel. We have the responsibility and privilege, as believers in the true religion established by God Himself in Christ, to confidently proclaim that the Catholic Church is the home for all true believers. What Christ did by bringing us close to God, Islam undoes by pushing God further away. In God's eyes Christians are friends of God; in the eyes of Islam we are mere slaves of Allah, a god who more resembles the Olympian Zeus. We, as Catholics, must fearlessly cultivate conversations with muslims and invite them to consider the Gospel. Or, to put it another way: the Church proposes, God disposes.

  • louella

    I agree – we must be sensitive to people's feelings in a spirit of charity and love. But we can say that the Catholic Church is the one true faith to someone without disparaging their religion or being nasty and hectoring.

  • john grosvenor

    BETTER OFF AS AN ATHEIST. we may all be wrong what if on judgement day we all end up in front of the juju up the mountain . She will look at me and say “you did not belive in me, but you lead a good life and was charitable go in.” Then she will look at you and say “You belived in a false god ” and send you down to that place (if it exists)

  • Grammo

    Well I am going to Birmingham and I must say martyrdom wasn't in the itinerary ! I guess when I said I'm dying to go I was endowed with the prophetic charisma. I am sure nothing will happen but let's just say I'll be making a good and humble confession the day before just in case :-)

  • louella

    Actually on Judgement Day Christ will indeed ask us about how what we did for the poor the hungry the homeless etc – and not what we believed in.

  • Andrew Martin Lale

    In the tenth century there were numerous massacres of Danes because of the depredations of their kinsmen. In the thirteenth century, all the Jews were kicked out of England after some horrible pogroms. If I were a Pakistani moslem, I wouldn't push my luck too much.

  • Gmtsource

    We need to analyze the above in context with Islam and Koran. Let us see what Koran say to their followers (Muslims) about their relationship with Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists …………..

    QUOTE “Let not the believers (Muslims) take disbelievers ( Jews, Christians, Hindus………etc) for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso does that has no connection with Allah unless (it be) that you but guard yourself against them, taking (as it were) security. Allah bids you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying. Surah III: 28 , M.M. Pickthall” UNQUOTE

    From above Islamic point of view it is evident that in no circumstances Muslims or an Islamic State can be an honest ally with Jews, Christians, Hindus etc…. Secondly

    “QUOTE, Fight against (Kill) such of those who have been given the Scriptures (Jews & Christians) as believe not in Allah nor the last day, and forbid not that which Allah has forbidden by his messenger, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute (Jahzia) readily, being brought low (BROUGHT TO DEATH)”. Surah IX : 29, M.M. Pickthall, UNQUOTE.

    How can Muslims or any Islamic Nation be kind and friendly with Jews, Christian, Hindus, Buddhists, etc………… If they be then Quran will become irrelevant and FALSE. Mohammad will be proved to be a LIAR.

    What Mohammad says about Killings:

    Allah's Apostle said, “Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, “O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?” The Prophet said, “Yes,” Muhammad bin Maslama said, “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab). “The Prophet said, “You may say it.” … (Sahih al-Bukhari 5.369, cf. the article on Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf for further details)

    A Muslim can distract its ally. Speaking lie is NO SIN as per Islam.

    Now do we need any more justifications, which Islam is true. It is the Terrorist's Islam which is true. Al Qaeda and Taliban et all are the followers of True Islam openly whereas all other Muslims follows same Islam of terror but in a hidden way.