Rod Liddle

Does the Prime Minister understand the ‘Real Islam’?

Does the Prime Minister understand the 'Real Islam'?
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The Prime Minister has decided that Turkey should be a member of the EU in order to form some sort of bridge with the rest of the Muslim world. He has also made the same mistake that the last government – and most apologists on the left made about Islam. He said of those people critical of Islam: ‘They see no difference between real Islam and the distorted version of the extremists. They think the values of Islam can never be compatible with the values of other religions, societies or cultures.'

In other words he is setting himself up as a Koranic expert, much as did Blair, in being able to adjudicate as to what is the “real Islam”. Obviously the “Real Islam” isn’t people blowing themselves up, although a large proportion of Palestinians, Afghans and so on would argue that it is, as would one or two cadres sitting tight in their Keighley or Tipton bedsits. But ok, let’s give him that one. What about apostasy, then? The majority of Islamic states impose a penalty for giving up the religion, either through the state or sharia courts; imprisonment or death. Is this Real Islam or the “distorted version of the extremists”? It’s certainly the practice of the overwhelming majority of Islamic countries, and cleaved to by all four major schools of Islamic thought, even the comparatively liberal Hanafi. What about gays? More than 30 of the 50 or so Islamic countries persecute homosexuals with anything ranging from fines to beheadings. Again, all four schools of Islamic thought believe homosexuality to be haram and thus worthy of punishment. Are they Cameron’s fatuous “Real Islam”, or the other kind? What about rights of women, rights of Christians to practice their faith AND proselytise, what about being allowed to whisper that Allah’s a goon, or doesn’t exist? What about the attitude towards Israel and, more pertinently, Jews in general? Cameron’s “Real Islam” in truth consists of secular west Turkey and a few decent liberal Muslim organisations in the UK, a constituency which represents a minuscule proportion of the Ummah. You don’t “understand” Islam by making this false dichotomy; it is not just presumptuous and ignorant, but also plain wrong.

Not unusually, Cameron is talking out of his arse.