Fancy that! A holistic view of extremism

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Ruth Kelly




So our Minister for Communities & Local Government, Ruth Kelly is again shifting the collective responsibility for the July 2005 attacks on to the Muslim community.

Visiting Birmingham on 26 February she declared, ‘Muslims were better placed to fight extremism within the Muslim community than the Government’ (27 Feb, Birmingham Post).  Full speech

This is in the same vein as the remarks of her boss, President Blair in Chappletown in November 2005 when he asserted that Muslims found it easier to blame others than to look inward; that ‘given half a leadership’, Muslims would ‘face up to the extremist menace in their midst’ (18 November 2005, The Guardian). Patronage is conferred on Muslim organizations which buy into this agenda; those that are less compliant are being marginalized.

What wrankles with the Muslim on the Clapham omnibus is this: ‘why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?’ (Matthew 7:3).

Consider placing the following on an extremism scale of 1 (rhetorical extremism) to 10 (murderous extremism):

  • the process of ‘rendition’ in which the USA and Britain are guilty. The Foreign Office lawyer who resigned over Iraq, Elizabeth Wilmshurst noted, ‘The UK is a party to the Convention against Torture which imposes an absolute prohibition on torture, with no exceptions. So is the US. The ban on torture applies not just to the act itself but also prohibits sending people to countries where there are substantial grounds for believing that they would be in danger of being tortured’ (6 December 2005).
  • Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was asked in 1996: ‘We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean that more children than died in Hiroshima. Is the price worth it’. She replied, ‘I think this is a very hard choice, but the price we think the price is worth it’.
  • The Abu Ghraib report documented ‘1,325 images of suspected detainee abuse, 93 video files of suspected detainee abuse’ (17 February 2006, The Guardian)
  • the Bush neo-conservative think tank ‘Project for the New American Century’ published in September 2005 a document for future members of the Bush administration. It stated that ‘the process of transforming the US into tomorrow’s dominant force was likely to be a long one, in the absence of some catastrophic and catalysing event like a new Pearl Harbour’ (from the foreword by Michael Meacher MP of ‘The New Pearl Harbour‘ by D R Griffin, Arris Books)
  • Explaining how he managed to live with the decision to go to war in Iraq, Mr Blair stated in an interview: “If you have faith about these things then you realise that judgment is made by other people. If you believe in God , it’s made by God as well.” Andy McSmith of the The Independent then noted, ‘his remarks, made in an interview to be shown on ITV’s Parkinson show tonight, invite comparison with President Bush, a born-again Christian, who has made a virtue of bringing religion into politics’ (4 March 2006).
  • Prior to the Nixon administration, the United States had never employed its veto power in the U.N. Security Council. It was first used March 17, 1970 over Southern Rhodesia. The second U.S. veto came two years later, when Washington sought to protect Israel from a resolution condemning Israel for one of its attacks on its neighbours. Since then, the United States has cast its veto a total of 39 times to shield Israel from Security Council draft resolutions that condemned, deplored, denounced, demanded, affirmed, endorsed, called on and urged Israel to obey the world body.
  • Ann Coulter, darling of the US Republican right shortly after 9/11: the West should “invade their [Islamic] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity”. (From the Sunday Times, 11 March 2007)
  • In the 1930s a certain type of Cambridge undergraduate was drawn to Communism as a matter of ‘social conscience’ – Blunt’s explanation when unmasked. They were drawn to acts of murderous fanaticism on the instructions of their masters and gave away the country’s most strategic secrets to Stalinist Russia. Philby in particular, from his position in MI6, betrayed clandestine Allied operations in Albania, the Baltic, and Ukraine, leading to the deaths of scores of patriots and agents. Mary Kenny writing in the Catholic Herald observed, ìIn life, Kim Philby was particularly fatal to a Catholic political movement..[He] subsequently had everyone on that list shot or assassinated”.