Interesting article on the more or less continual theme here of islamisation and it's unhealthy relationship with many folk who like to classify themselves as various permutations of "left", "liberal" and/or "humanist". As needs to always be pointed out with these types of critical articles, the author is not a right wing crank, he's not white and he actually has the intellectual grounding to be able to offer a non-hysterical opinion.
The article reiterates a lot of what I have said or thought and you'll have to excuse me for feeling some satisfaction at this as this author and others have a much more intimate working knowledge of both islam and the cultures that adhere to it. Of particlular interest are his thoughts on the Rushdie affair
- that it was less an issue of offense against islam and more of a power struggle between Tehran and Saudi Arabia to claim the voice of authority for global islam. The final paragraph is particularly delicious and I've included it below, along with a couple of choicer snippets. It will probably just look like a section of blank space to the apologists in the audience.
How to become a real Muslim
-- Kenan Malik
For many, all this suggests a fundamental conflict between the values of Islam and those of the West. The American writer Christopher Caldwell in his controversial book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, published last year, argues that Muslim migration to Europe has been akin to a form of colonization. "Since its arrival half a century ago", Caldwell observes, "Islam has broken – or required adjustments to, or rearguard defences of – a good many of the European customs, received ideas and state structures with which it has come in contact." Islam "is not enhancing or validating European culture; it is supplanting it."This idea of a "clash of civilizations" was first mooted twenty years ago in the wake of the Salman Rushdie affair by the historian Bernard Lewis and popularized a few years later by the American political scientist Samuel Huntingdon. Today, it has become almost common sense. "All over again", as the novelist Martin Amis has put it, "the West confronts an irrationalist, agonistic, theocratic/ideocratic system which is essentially and unappeasably opposed to its existence."[...]In liberal eyes, in other words, to be a real Muslim is to find the cartoons offensive. Once Muslim authenticity is so defined, then only a figure such as Abu Laban can be seen as a true Muslim voice. The Danish cartoons, as Jytte Klausen observed, "have become not just a tool for extremism but also created a soap opera in the West about what Muslims 'do' with respect to pictures'. Or, as Naser Khader has put it, "What I find really offensive is that journalists and politicians see the fundamentalists as the real Muslims." The myths about the Danish cartoons – that all Muslims hated the cartoons and that it was a theological conflict – helped turn Abu Laban into an authentic voice of Islam. At the same time, Abu Laban's views seemed to confirm the myths about the Danish cartoons.[...]Liberal multicultural policies have not created radical Islam, but they have helped create a space for it in western societies that previously had not existed. They have also provided a spurious moral legitimacy to Islamist arguments. Every time a politician denounces an "offensive" work, every time a newspaper apologizes for causing offence, every time a journalist tells someone like Naser Khader that he's not a "real" Muslim, they strengthen the moral claims of the Islamists. There will always be extremists who attempt to murder cartoonists or firebomb newspaper offices. There is little we can do about them. What we can do is refuse to create a culture that emboldens such people by accepting their voices as somehow legitimate.