(I wrote this article for another blog at the end of March 2016. It seems just as relevant today as it did then and it is reproduced here in the hope that it may stimulate constructive debate)
Today a suicide bomber has killed at least 70 and injured more than 300, many critically, in a crowded park in Lahore, Pakistan, where Christian families were enjoying the Easter holiday weekend.
The bomber detonated the deadly blast close to a children’s play area, ensuring that many of the victims were young boys and girls. Eyewitnesses said they saw body-parts strewn all across the ground.
The Islamic faction that claimed responsibility for the atrocity said they were targeting Muslim Pakistan’s small Christian minority.
“Nothing to do with Islam” From past experience this will be what most of the West’s elected leaders will spout to the media about this latest mass-murder. It’s what George W Bush said after 9/11, what Tony Blair said after 7/7, Tony Abbott after the Lindt cafe, David Cameron after two Islamists cut off the head of a British soldier in a London street, and Francois Hollande after the Paris massacre in November.
Anyone with access to a radio, a newspaper or the internet knows our leaders are totally wrong on this. They insult our intelligence by even thinking that we might believe them. We understand the oft-advanced excuse that if they were to depart from this mantra – and lay blame fairly and squarely on fanatical Muslims – it might provoke a lynch-mob mentality on the part of unsophisticated voters. But that’s just a further insult to the intelligence of most thinking people who readily accept that ‘all Muslims are not terrorists’ but who suspect that, at least in recent times, ‘all terrorists are Muslim’.
In just the last 30 days the researched list of known Islamic terror attacks total 147 in 25 countries with 1,158 killed and 3,221 injured. All such attacks have EVERYTHING TO DO WITH ISLAM.
There can be no progress until Mosques accept responsibility for rooting out radicals from their midst. We should expect that their leaders:-
Publicly condemn Muslim terrorist attacks in unequivocal and unambiguous terms. Unlike those recently expressed by Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, the Grand Mufti of Australia, following the recent Paris attacks when he blamed amongst other factors “racism, Islamophobia and curtailing freedoms”. Perhaps Dr Mohamed could tell us how many of all those young people attending a rock concert at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris, and so cruelly cut down in a sustained 20-minute cross-fire by assault rifles wielded by Islamic murderers in the gallery, he knows to have been racist and Islamophobic?
Declare as non-Muslim, or apostates, all those who commit acts of terrorism in the name of Islam. However the chances of the present Grand Mufti taking action to effectively ex-communicate any Muslim appears pretty slim. More than a year ago the oldest Islamic university in the world, al-Azhar in Cairo, declared that whilst ISIS member are terrorists they cannot be described as heretics, or non-Muslims, and the Grand Mufti holds his doctorate in Islamic studies from al-Azhar.
Co-operate fully with the police over criminal investigations and particularly when Muslims themselves are intimidated and attacked by their co-religionists for merely trying to build bridges with the wider community. A tragic recent victim of this kind of Islamic extremism was Asad Shah, a Glasgow newsagent and a devout but moderate Muslim, who on Thursday put an ecumenical Easter greeting to all his Scottish customers on his Facebook page. Within four hours this popular shopkeeper was stabbed to death by two men who then stamped on his head in what police are describing as a ‘religiously prejudiced’ attack. A 32-yr old Muslim man has been arrested.
Should Mosque leaders fail to co-operate, or if they actively protect any terrorist suspect, or in any other way hinder the due process of law, legislation should be introduced empowering the state to require a Mosque to lodge a sizeable ‘good behaviour bond’ with a Court having the power to judicially consider their actions and, if necessary, to impose fines. This would be rather akin to the situation during the UK miners’ strikes of 1984/85 when the National Union of Mineworkers under its then boss, Arthur Scargill, thought itself above the law. It refused to pay fines imposed by the Courts and transferred all its cash out of the country, principally to Col. Gaddafi’s Libya. They soon found however that the law was indeed above them when their entire assets were frozen, sequestered, and recovered by the Courts.
The time has now come when we must tell our elected leaders that we are fed up with them making excuses for the large number of Muslims who believe that all non-Muslims must be killed and that the entire population of every country in the world must be Muslim. We want to live in peace and harmony with our Muslim neighbours and we have no wish to be in any way intolerant of their different beliefs and lifestyles. However, we demand that they afford us the same respect and toleration for our religions and lifestyles. And that means that the Muslim community must take urgent action to rid ITSELF of its criminal extremist elements.