Its not often that I am lucky enough to get the opportunity to catch some of R4’s Woman’s Hour but today was one of those days when the chance came my way and I leapt at it. As with every other occasion it seems I, by chance, managed to tune in just as they were talking about converts to Islam. Usually it is about the joys of conversion and just how happy everyone seems. The researchers must have got it wrong this time as the narrative went rapidly off line, the convert, in a book under discussion, going from infidel, to Muslim convert, to suicide bomber.
However there was a rapid rebuttal of any thoughts that Islam might be the trigger for the convert’s terrorism, the author stating that it absolutely had nothing to do with Islam but was a result of the woman’s own psychological problems, Islam does not lead you into terrorism.
The presenter, Jane Garvey, told us that Muslims were sick to death of Islam and terrorism being linked together….it’s all the media’s fault…..Garvey said that ‘it’s so unfair’.
Except it’s not really is it? Islam does have a link to terrorism….but there’s the rub, Muslim campaigners always claim that terrorism and violence are not linked to Islam however that’s not really the problem with Islam in the West. The problem is the innate nature of Islam that is in opposition to everything that a democratic, secular, liberal, western civilisation stands for and it is that ‘extremism’ by comparison to the West’s values that is the problem which Muslims and the BBC don’t want to talk about and divert attention away from by talking of terrorism or violence as if they are the only issues….just look at how the BBC reported the Trojan Horse scandal…the BBC essentially lied about what was going on, downplaying its significance, telling us that it was a hoax, that this was more about racism, Islamophobia and paranoia of non-Muslims than any real threat to society.
The author of the book, Meike Ziervogel, told us that she had considered converting to Islam herself, however it was not for spiritual reasons. She said she found certain aspects of Islam highly attractive at the time, almost mesmerising….the rigid structure, the rituals, the praying 5 times a day, the rules that told you exactly how to live your life. In the end she didn’t convert but as I listened I thought that Islam must be the ideal religion for those on the autistic spectrum needing that rigid structure to their lives in order to cope in a world so full of options.
Whilst fanatically rigid Islam is by far the most suitable for those needing an ‘institutionalised’ way of life many religions could offer similar solace and support almost like a drug to help treat them, taking away the need for free thought and decision making, all that confusing choice and personal responsibility.
Maybe Islam should be available on the NHS. Religion is the opium of the masses after all.
As religion strips away the need to think it puts the power into the hands of the leader’s of the religion which is what makes religion, with its unthinking, often fanatical, battalions on tap, so dangerous. The Church of England had long been the source of much radicalism and terror until it was tamed and became the friendly parish priest doling out tea and sympathy linking the community together. Religions need to be leavened, moderated, to control and rein in the fanaticism.
Islam on the other hand is nowhere near that stage of development, and looks increasingly like it never will flip to the peaceful side. The BBC’s Giles Fraser for one is happy that this is so, and in fact wants the Church to go down a similar path of radicalisation and fundamentalism…presumably he wants a Christian Isis…a Chrisis?
He tells us that…
The Church of England is the longest-running prevent strategy in history. If not from its inception, then certainly from the end of the English civil war, the big idea of the C of E was to prevent radicalisation – precisely the sort of radicalisation that led to religious people butchering each other throughout the 1630s and 40s. Its strategy was to discourage two things: big expansive politically minded theology – the sort of theology that has ambitions to change the world – and religious passion (or “enthusiasm” as it was dismissively described).
And then along comes Islam – and, thankfully, it disrupts this absurd game and refuses to play by the rules. Its practitioners want to talk about God, sex and politics rather than mortgages, school places and the latest Boden catalogue. And good for them.
Yes, good for them….that’s precisley what we need…more radicalisation… ‘the sort of radicalisation that led to religious people butchering each other throughout the 1630s and 40s.’ Good for them.
Fraser likes ‘non-violent extremism’ and doesn’t appreciate Cameron’s approach to it….
Attacking it is simply an attack on thinking big, thinking differently and arguing passionately. It comes from a now defunct C of E mindset (now defunct even within the C of E, thank God) that assumes it’s the job of religious people to be pastorally nice, softly spoken and uncontroversial. But that’s not Jesus. And like him, I believe in pulling the mighty from their thrones and lifting up the lowly. And I believe there is an authority greater than yours – one I would obey before I would obey the laws of this land. And if that makes me a dangerous extremist, Mr Cameron, then you probably ought to come over to south London and arrest me now.
Trouble is ‘non-violent extremism’ is the source of the ideology that spawns the violence that is intended to impose that ‘non-violent’ extremist ideology on those who don’t agree with it….as he admits….
Of course, the reason the authorities are often nervous of religious anarchy is precisely because of the enormous power that it can evoke, for good and ill. Hence the need for our episcopal prefects to behave as the state’s health and safety officers in matters of religion.
And here’s where Giles disagrees with himself..declaring that diverse and turbulent religions need tanks on the streets and state control of religion, ala Cameron?, to keep the peace between the communities…..who’d have thought?….direct from Kazakhstan and Giles Fraser’s brain…
There’s also an increasing anxiety that a less repressive approach to religion might open the door to radicalisation. So only state-authorised religions are allowed here. Missionaries are regulated. Religious political parties are banned. And the president of Kazakhstan, an old-style ex-Soviet politician – who received a comedy 97.75% of the vote at his re-re-re-election back in April – presides over this gathering of well-meaning religious flannel.
And maybe they are right to do all this. For Kazakhstan has, within its own set limits, developed a properly deserved reputation for religious toleration. …..his is a place of genuine diversity, where different faiths rub along remarkably well. Despite all the off-putting pomposity of the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation, it’s not a totally unrealistic reflection of how things are here. Maybe there is something for that tank to protect.
Great that the BBC employs a wannabe religious extremist who wants to turn the Church fundamentalist and radicalise it by injecting some ‘anarchic religious energy’ into it. Just what we need, yet another set of religious fanatics, this time presumably wanting to live by their fundamentalist religious beliefs and presumably also therefore opposing those other religions that attack and undermine Christianity…such as Islam….a recipe for disaster and religious wars on a grander scale than we have already?
Christianity…the new Religion of Peace?