Friday, November 17, 2006

Paul Goodman's Wake-up call

Paul Goodman, MP for High Wycombe, has given a superb speech in reply to the Queen's Speech this week. As Melanie Phillips says on her website, he gets it. We've reproduced a section here, but to read it in its entirety go to Melanie's website

Mr. Paul Goodman (Wycombe) (Con):

More than 9,000 of my constituents are Muslims, almost 11 per cent. of my electorate. I thus represent more Muslim voters than any other Member of Parliament of my party. I therefore necessarily see one of my most important duties as a constituency MP and, indeed, more widely, as being to help to do what I can to create a moderate, prosperous and integrated British Muslim majority.(...)

A central question about the Queen’s Speech, therefore, is whether both it and Government policy more broadly will curtail terror, build security and help to deliver that moderate, prosperous and integrated British Muslim majority that we all want to see. Ministers must thus convince the House that the analysis that accompanies their actions is thoroughly thought through. I shall risk a medical analogy: relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in Britain are clearly to some degree poisoned. Seeking to drain the poison and heal those relations is a bit like a doctor treating an illness. We have to diagnose the cause of the illness before seeking to cure it.

There is no shortage of diagnoses. Some claim that the main cause of Muslim alienation is racism and Islamophobia; others that it is poverty and lower life chances; and others still that the cause is intergenerational conflict between older people who, in some cases, still inhabit psychologically, if not physically, the hill villages of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, and more rootless younger people who identify neither with traditional life in those villages nor with modern Britain. Other voices cite the failure of the multi-culturalist experiment in delivering social cohesion, and others point to foreign policy.

For myself, I believe that all those observations are part of any sensible diagnosis. As the first parliamentary Member of my party, as far as I know, to call publicly for an independent inquiry into the Iraq war on 2 June 2003, I am scarcely likely to argue otherwise. However, in my view these observations do not constitute the whole diagnosis. Clearly, there is something missing. (...)

I suggest to the House that that missing something is the ideology of Islamism. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (David Maclean) said, Islamism is not Islam. Islam is a religion-a great religion at that and one, it seems to me, as various, as complex, as multi-faceted and as capable of supporting a great civilisation as Christianity. Islamism, however, is an ideology forged largely in the past 100 years, and that word ‘ideology’ should help to convey to the House a flavour that is as much modern as mediaeval.

Like communism and like fascism, those other modern ideologies, Islamism divides not on the basis of class or of race, but on the basis of religion. To this politician, it has three significant features. First, it separates the inhabitants of the dar-al-Islam-the house of Islam-and the dar-al-Harb-the house of war-and, according to Islamist ideology, those two houses are necessarily in conflict. Secondly, it proclaims to Muslims that their political loyalty lies not with the country that they live in, but with the umma-that is, the worldwide community of Muslims. Thirdly, it aims to bring the dar-al-Islam under sharia law.

I am not an expert on Islam, but I have learned enough about it since I was first elected to this place in 2001 to recognise that its view, and our inherited view of the difference between the sacred and secular, diverge. In our inherited view, the sacred and the secular are separate. The Christian tradition from which our inherited view springs has always acknowledged a distinction between what is God’s and what is Caesar’s. In Islam, that distinction is harder to perceive.

It is, of course, true that in the Muslim societies in which I have travelled sharia law and secular law exist side by side. In Pakistan, for example, there are both secular and sharia courts. None the less, the distinction is anathema, so to speak, to the Islamists. They look back for inspiration to Mohammed’s original political settlement, in which the religious and political were, in effect, one and the same. They are, as the phrase has it, ‘dreaming of Medina.’ They seek to restore the caliphate to a glory that is tinged with nostalgia and longing.(...)

We must consider what the likely future effect would be on domestic Muslim support for sharia, and even for terror, of a further downward spiral events, of further international tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims, of further domestic terrorist incidents-which, alas, there may be-and of racist and xenophobic backlashes against British Muslims. That is the challenge that we all face together. In my view, it is a challenge to Britain that is no less pressing than the challenge of climate change, which has occupied much of the debate today. That is the challenge for the political and media classes as a whole, and it is especially the challenge for this Government and the security and terror-related aspects of the Queen’s Speech.(...)

George Orwell once wrote of the ‘deep, deep sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear that we shall never wake till we are jerked out of it by the roar of bombs. ‘On 7/7, we heard the roar of bombs in London. I sometimes worry that the deep, deep sleep that Orwell described in the 1930s is still here in relation to Islamism in sections of the Government, parts of the political and media establishment, the House and the country. This is one of the most urgent problems facing us, and if we are in that deep, deep sleep, it is time for all of us to wake up.

Douglas Murray's Speech at The New Culture Forum


Anonymous said...

Great speech. Paul Goodman is a smart cookie.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant comprehensive speech. Paul Goodman shows us all that this vital issue can be approached with moderation but determination. There is no time left for politically correct fuss or any sort of apeasement. The moderates - a majority, are we said, among the Muslim community - should welcome Paul Goodman's words and at least speak up against the Islamist Beast. We want to hear them shouting 'Not in our name, terrorists go to hell'.

Anonymous said...

What an excellent speech, and thank you to the New Culture Forum for giving it wider circulation. As Goodman says this is the most pressing issue facing Britain today. Let's hope we don't need another bomb to wake us from our "deep, deep sleep".

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see people like Paul Goodman in this country are wakeing up to see evil of Islam here and World over.People in his position ought to know better about cult of Islam.Believe you me there are no moderate Muslims.The only good Muslim is the one who has denounced Islam.Log on
www.faithfreedom.org www.thereligionofpeace.com www.copts.net www.jihad-watch.org