Friday, May 11, 2007

Cameron Ideas

The leader of the opposition (and possibly future PM) has spent a few days living with a regular Muslim family to find out what it's like. He makes some conclusions which are cause for concern.

He says that, "Every time the BBC or a politician talks about “Islamist terrorists” they are doing immense harm." But goes on to say that, "Of course it’s impossible every single time to say “terrorists who are following a perverted strain of the true religion of Islam” but if we’re going to use shorthand we have got to do better."

There is a contradiction here. On the one hand he seems to appreciate that the terrorism stems from an ideology and that that ideology is based on an extreme interpretation of Islam. Yet, at the same time, he wants us all to use a different word that would hide that link between the violence and Islam. If we hide the link then we prevent ourselves from understanding the cause and therefore we cannot deal with it.

Any new word will still mean the same thing and therefore is there any point inventing a new word? We should be making clear exactly what "Islamism" means. It is because so many people excuse terrorism as a reaction to foreign policy that the term "Islamism" is not understood. If we were honest in saying that the cause of terrorism is an ideology called "Islamism" and we discussed Islamism openly then there would be no misunderstanding of what the term means. It is precisely because we won't tell it like it is that the term is worrying for Muslims.

One other statement that is cause for concern is the following sentence: "My final thought yesterday was that integration is a two way street." Cameron then went on to explain that Britain has many social problems that are putting people off integrating. Hopefully, he simply means that the social issues need to be addressed because they present problems for Western culture. But, the phrase implies that he might mean that we need to address these issues because some of those who have chosen to immigrate here demand it. The latter would be a boon for the Islamists who would see yet more evidence of the weakness of Western culture and how quickly it will back down if you shout and demand loud enough.

What this country (and the West) needs is strong leadership. We need a Prime Minister who will stand up to Islamist pressure and make it clear that the West will fight for its values and will not be dictated to. David Cameron's statements indicate that he might not be that man.