Rod Liddle

Against Manicheanism

Against Manicheanism
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My old mate Andrew Gilligan lacerates the BBC in this week’s magazine, for having allowed a member of the Islamic Forum of Europe onto Radio Four’s usually genteel “Any Questions”, and indeed having allowed the East London Mosque (which is run by the “extremist” IFE) to host the programme. At first sight, it is a little odd, especially if you fish around for comparisons. You can imagine the fuss, for example, if Any Questions decided to interview Nick Griffin of the BNP. But it is perhaps beyond imagining if Any Questions were to broadcast from the BNP’s headquarters, with the audience staffed full of BNP supporters and the chairman of the panel behaving with exquisite deference to Mr Griffin. The IFE is many times more viciously bigoted than the BNP, and blood-thirsty to boot, so Gilligan is right when he accuses the BBC of libtard credulity.

However, the central point of Andrew’s piece is that the BBC shouldn’t allow such speakers onto Any Questions, because it “legitimizes” them and “betrays” moderate Muslims. This is surely wrong. We need to hear what maniacs have to say just as much as need to hear what, say, Edward McMillan-Scott has to say, and perhaps more so. I have never been terribly keen on the Manichean approach to Islam which divides it into two mutually hostile camps, extremist and moderate. There is much in moderate Islam which I find repulsive and, uh, extremist – its views about homosexuality, for example, and apostasy. And it is this false split – extremist/moderate which enables idiotic politicians and policemen to assert that suicide bombings are “nothing to do with Islam”.  I suspect that counter to what Andrew asserts there is a fair amount of support for the IFE within the certain sections of the Muslim community. Let’s hear that voice from time to time.