April 13, 2004


Broadcaster Aminul Hoque is alarmed by the attitudes of some British Muslims:

As I walked the streets talking to hundreds of 15- to 30-year-old Muslims for a BBC radio documentary, it became all too apparent that there is a tiny - and I must reiterate, tiny - minority who are taking the religion of Islam to a sinister new level. And this small fringe element, which includes the radical al-Muhajiroun organisation, is making its presence felt more strongly than ever. They openly advocate terror, regard Osama Bin Laden as a "scholar of Islam" and their radical and militant views strike a chord with the impressionable, angry and frustrated youth of East London and other urban centres.

Hoque, himself a Muslim, discovered that members of his own family are among the extreme:

Most worryingly, my research opened up my eyes to the fact that people whom I know very well - friends, family, colleagues - possess opinions that are enough to send shivers down the spines of most people. These are ordinary people who have well-paid jobs, are educated and seem very pleasant in conversation.

During a secret al-Muhajiroun conference in Euston that attracted more than 600 men and women, I was greeted with a friendly tap on my shoulder by a close cousin of mine. To see him at this conference, organised by a group who openly support terrorist acts outside of the United Kingdom, was shocking to say the least. He is family-orientated, has a very good job and travels around the world.

But ... but ... how can this be? Surely terrorism is only caused by poverty?

Posted by Tim Blair at April 13, 2004 01:37 PM

Non Muslims will never understand the mind set of a devoted Muslim. It is outside our cultural reasoning.

Posted by: Ted at April 13, 2004 at 01:43 PM

If it was secret - how come 600 people were there?

Posted by: Razor at April 13, 2004 at 01:52 PM

"Non Muslims will never understand the mind set of a devoted Muslim. It is outside our cultural reasoning."

Not really. Just [JACKNICHOLSON]take away reason and accountability[/JACKNICHOLSON]. And there you have it. Works for most people, actually. (Yes, I have a rather low opinion of human nature. You should be glad I'm not in a position where I can do anything about it.)

[Edited for clarity. Gee you guys are quick. Hey, I didn't mean it that way.]

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 13, 2004 at 01:52 PM

"Non Muslims will never understand the mind set of a devoted Muslim. It is outside our cultural reasoning."

Thank you Ted. Yes and that is why we will fail in Iraq, because what is accepted standards for us is different for them. What they expect from a leader is to crush all oppossition quickly and brutally. Anything else is a sign of weakness and will be met with snapping dogs at the heels of those there doing a job.

To win this those in charge will have to start thinking outside of our cultural reasoning.

Posted by: IXLNXS at April 13, 2004 at 01:57 PM

It might be added that any Muslim who can recite the "Qu'ran" and knows it throughout can assume the position of a Mullah, so I am told.

Posted by: Louis at April 13, 2004 at 02:01 PM

'Non Muslims will never understand the mind set of a devoted Muslim. It is outside our cultural reasoning.'

Ted, the evil murderers who blew up 28 people including 9 children and a pregnant woman in Omagh were not Muslim (as far as I know), they were just evil pure and simple.

If the abovementioned al-Maccaroon dudes were to cross the sea and get together with the IRA you'd have a multilateral terrorist group.

I'm sure the UN would approve.

Posted by: ilibcc at April 13, 2004 at 02:33 PM

'Non Muslims will never understand the mind set of a devoted Muslim. It is outside our cultural reasoning.'

The same could be said of non-Christians not understanding the mind of a devout Christian. Hell, there are times when I don't understand devout Christians, and I was raised by one.

Frankly, the Islamofascists use Islam as a cover and excuse for their hatred in the same fashion the Aryan Nations use Christianity as window dressing for a similar message (just not a successful one). This is an old trick in politics; it's easier to get people to hate than it is to get them to love. Cynical, you say? Ask Hitler.

It is not a matter of religion. Islam is now a tool in the hands of people who simply can't accept responsibility for their own problems. And, yes, I do refer to the Arabic world. Their main contribution to life on this planet in the last century or so has been oil, corruption, war, and despotism. Got a problem, Arab? Blame the Jews! Gee, you lost a war? The Americans made it so!

All you liberal left wingers, listen up! Say what you will about Western civilization, at least we are willing to admit to admit we have problems. Saudi Arabia denied any sort of terrorist problems even after 19 of the 20 hijackers from 9/11 were identified as being Saudi. It took a major terrorist attack on their own soil before they did anything serious, and even that seems to be half-assed. This is denial at its worse, and it seems to be embedded in the Arab pysche.

Those 600 people at that "secret al-Muhajiroun conference" are manipulated fools. Manipulated by evil men who don't care about anything but their own twisted goals of empire. And I refer to Al Quaeda and similar blackhearted ghouls, not the "America Is Evil" crap being spewed by useless idiots.

Wake up, Arab world. See your problems for what they are -- yours! Wake up, and grow up.

Sorry about the rant, folks. I'll be good now! :-)

Posted by: JeffS at April 13, 2004 at 03:14 PM

To understand the mind of Muslims, there is the La Raza motto: For the race, everything; for those outside the race, nothing. That is the Islamic concept of Ummah. That is the mindset of Muslims, whether or not they are militant, because that is the only mindset that Islam permits. To not participate in that mindset makes a Muslim apostate and worthy of death. What's to understand?

Posted by: Helen at April 13, 2004 at 03:17 PM

First I've heard of "Ummah", Helen. I'm still struggling to understand.

I did a quick Google search, and "Ummah" is defined as "a community or a people. It is used in reference to the community of Believers or Muslims."

You say that this is a Muslim mindset. An unalterable mindset, unless the person renounces Islam. You are either in the community, or you are not. Is that correct?

If so, then it follows, from the Muslim perspective, that any Western posturing for formal treaties and/or alliances, or moral support to terrorists, is little more than a ..... what? Convenience? Game? A situation to be taken advantage of?

Do I reason this correctly?

Posted by: JeffS at April 13, 2004 at 04:05 PM

Louis, if you mean have it memorized completely and able to recite it from cover to cover, the title for that is hafiz. They tend to get a lot of respect.

A hafiz would probably be able to take the title Mullah, but a Mullah doesn't have to be a hafiz. A Mullah is basically just a scholar or a prayer leader.

Posted by: dorkafork at April 13, 2004 at 04:43 PM

I think readers will find the debate between a Muslim and some other contributors in the comments section of this blog by The Evil Pundit of Doom! very interesting.

Here’s my contribution to the debate as a guest blogger, which some may also find of interest.

Posted by: Antony at April 13, 2004 at 04:51 PM

Sorry, here's the correct guest blogger reference.

Posted by: Antony at April 13, 2004 at 04:57 PM

But ... but ... how can this be? Surely terrorism is only caused by poverty?

I've lost count of the number of times people have noted with surprise well educated / wealthy / whatever people supporting extremist ideologies.

My theory: extremist ideologies are more common, not less, in the well-off.

Posted by: Andjam at April 13, 2004 at 11:03 PM

extremist ideologies are more common, not less, in the well-off.

Quite so. Political extremism is a luxury good, which can be enjoyed, if that is the word, only by those who don't have to worry about putting a roof over their head and food on their families.

Posted by: R C Dean at April 13, 2004 at 11:19 PM

I've worked with and deal with muslims almost every weekend.

With their rampant welfare abuse and criminal behaviour 9 out of 10 are crims to me.

I've never met a group of people like them.

I wish they were gone. All of them

Posted by: Andrew Brough at April 13, 2004 at 11:29 PM

JeffS, your reasoning is quite correct.

Posted by: Kathy K at April 13, 2004 at 11:37 PM

Ted: Faith in anything larger than ourselves seems to be beyond the public's reasoning at this point...

Posted by: Joe at April 13, 2004 at 11:56 PM

I wish they were gone. All of them

What do you mean by that comment?

Posted by: Andjam at April 14, 2004 at 12:00 AM

Of course the majority of terrorists are well off. People who are dirt poor don't have time to go to al-Muhajiroun "secret" meeting, they have to go find something to eat.

Posted by: madne0 at April 14, 2004 at 12:20 AM

Tiny minority?

Friends, family and co-workers who are part of it? 600 at a 'secret' meeting?

That doesn't sound tiny at all.

Pervasive is more the term. Maybe 'widespread'. But 'tiny'? Naahh.

Posted by: jack at April 14, 2004 at 12:36 AM

The interesting about these quotes is that he tries to claim its a "tiny" minority and then claims to find them everywhere. Sort of self-defeating argument surely? I am sure this poor bastard is now on some extremist hit-list.

It is a great relief to see that at least some people are actually educating themselves about Islam. Islam has a very clear-cut us or them mentality. The "them" part is called the "realm of war" which is relatively self-explanatory if you think about it.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at April 14, 2004 at 02:18 AM

Yep, Jeffs. Islam teaches them to make treaties and such when they're weak so they can regroup their strength. When they're strong, then it's back to killing the infidels as usual. That's why the Fallujah ceasefire is such a waste of time.

Posted by: Helen at April 14, 2004 at 02:49 AM

Helping the education of JeffS by adding to Helen's comment:

That tactic is referred to as a "hudna".

Posted by: Carl in N.H. at April 14, 2004 at 03:49 AM

Can I assume that the slagging of Islam in these posts is really directed at Wahabbism? No religion is good or evil - it's the followers that make it so. There was a time that Islam was more enlightened than Christianity. Hell, just go back to the Puritans in Massachusetts and you'll see the Christian form of Shari'a in action - executing Quakers, hanging a boy for bestiality along with the animals he diddled, pressing "witches" to death. You can find remnants of these attitudes among Christian fundamentalists today. All religions seem to go through these phases, so unless you're willing to say that Christianity is inherently evil because of its murder of millions in the past, then don't say Islam is inherently evil because of the evil influence it's under today.

Personally, as an agnostic, I think the potential for evil in any religion makes it too dangerous to dabble in, but I recognize many people need it to cope with life. Whatever gets you through the day.
(BTW, a Baptist preacher once called me a "coward" during an Internet argument because I didn't take advantage of my lack of belief in Heaven and Hell to steal and rape. If Christianity keeps people like him and his flock from stealing my car and raping my wife, then I'm all for it.)

Posted by: Dave S. at April 14, 2004 at 04:17 AM


Bernard Lewis says something at his lectures which is worth thinking about.

Most of the world is made up of nations which then subdivide into religions.

Islam is a religion which subdivides into nations.

Posted by: Ted at April 14, 2004 at 04:23 AM

If Lewis indeed said that, he's an idiot. It's simply rubbish. On both counts.

Posted by: brill at April 14, 2004 at 04:32 AM

extremist ideologies are more common, not less, in the well-off.

I wouldn't necessarily say that's true on the whole, but definitely true for those in leading positions within extremist movements. The poor followers who inevitably get sucked in are mostly used as foot soldiers (or cannonfodder, depending on just how extremist we're talking).

Posted by: PW at April 14, 2004 at 04:33 AM


Thank you for your brilliant analysis

Posted by: Ted at April 14, 2004 at 04:56 AM

G'day Andjam

I wish they would bugger off away from this country and overall I would love it if their ideology dissapeared from the world altogether.

Posted by: Andrew Brough at April 14, 2004 at 08:48 AM

Thanks for the info, folks. I have some thinking to do......

Posted by: JeffS at April 14, 2004 at 10:05 AM

To my mind, the most annoying thing about ... well, not "all Muslims", probably not even "most Muslims", but about pretty much "every self-declared Muslim community leader I ever hear in the media", is that they oscillate between:--

(a) victimhood when in the minority, to take advantage of political correctness ("You can't criticise our religion! That's as bad as hating people for their skin colour!")

(b) triumphalism when they're in (or when they expect to soon be in) the majority -- talking about timetables for instituting Shari'ah law, and so forth.

Some Christians and Jews are like this too (c/f America where the Christian Right simultaneously cries persecution by Hollywood while also talking about amending the Constitution to ban gay marriages; and where liberal, usually non-practising Jews want crosses and Christmas removed from schools and public property, but have no problems with kddies being exposed to memorahs and Hannukkah). But this tendency to have it both ways is especially strong among Muslims.

Posted by: Uncle Milk at April 14, 2004 at 11:00 AM

From the link at the end of Tim's post:

"'Poverty in all its forms is the greatest single threat to peace, security, democracy, human rights and the environment,' the head of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Michael Moore, told delegates."

Who the Hell put that fat sack of crap in charge of the WTO?

Posted by: Sean M. at April 15, 2004 at 06:48 PM