The Corner

Waking Up

Labour MP and former foreign officer minister, Denis MacShane, writing in the Daily Telegraph:

At long last, the debate on Islamism as politics, not Islam as religion, is out in the open. Two weeks ago, Jack Straw might have felt he was taking a risk when publishing his now notorious article on the Muslim veil. However, he was pushing at an open door. From across the political spectrum there is now common consent that the old multicultural emperor, before whom generation of politicians have made obeisance, is now a pitiful, naked sight…Chinese walls in Whitehall prevented effective inter-departmental co-operation. The Home Office, in addition to allowing Hamza to poison the minds of a generation, refused to return to France Rashid Ramda, who was wanted for questioning in connection with the 1995 Paris Metro bombings – a foretaste of our own 7/7. I hated having to go on French television and waffle defensively at a policy of not extraditing this evil man. But the prevailing culture was to deal with religious leaders, not elected politicians. Whitehall sought the advice of friendly theologians from Cairo, or Muslim ideologues such as Tariq Ramadan. This denied political space to British citizens of Muslim faith, women as well as men…Some difficult politics lies ahead. It is bizarre that neither David Cameron nor Sir Menzies Campbell have spoken. At some stage, the metro-populism of Notting Hill will have to engage with the worries of British citizens who understand a problem long before Whitehall gets it. There is a new generation of British Muslims who want to engage in politics and reclaim the issues that concern their communities from religious-based outfits or those who see their task as importing foreign conflicts into domestic British politics.They must be encouraged before it is too late. From Margaret Thatcher, until very recently Tony Blair, political leaders have been in denial. It is time to wake up.

You could query the inclusion of Margaret Thatcher in that list (she resigned sixteen years ago, after all), but this is an important piece. Read the whole thing.


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