The Real Islamophobia

Over at the Gatestone Institute, my piece on the ''real Islamophobia'' has been published:

"Islamophobia" is not, as claimed by some critics, just a concept invented by Islamist organizations to distract from their own fundamentalism; it is is a form of prejudice, exacerbated by governments, university faculties, the media and even interfaith groups. The greatest threat to moderate Islam and its assimilation with democratic values are those people who, too fearful to make a stand against radical Islamists, ignore the pleas of pro-Western Muslims and instead choose to "engage" with the extremists. Real Islamophobes are those who abandon secular Muslims and turn a blind eye to the human rights violations committed against innocent Muslims by Islamist governments and terror groups.


When, for example, the British politician Ken Livingstone embraced the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Yusuf Al-Qaradawi and proclaimed him to be the "voice of Islam," he insulted Muslims all around the World. Those who adhere to the Islamic faith suddenly found that a non-Muslim politician was forcing upon them the responsibility of a hate-preacher who believes Jews and homosexuals should be purged from society. What could be more detrimental to Muslims than such an imposed obstacle to real reformation and enlightenment within their faith?


In 2011, the British Government''s review of the PREVENT program, the state-funded counter-extremism initiative, declared that providing taxpayers'' money to moderate Islamists in order to calm the "extreme" Islamists had not worked all that well. The Government''s report noted that "there have been cases where groups whom we would now consider to support an extremist ideology have received funding." This came as no surprise to leading counter-extremism activists, who have long-warned about Islamist organizations taking advantage of Government funding for "interfaith" schemes – money and moral legitimacy to which extremists quickly sign-up in order to shroud their more nefarious activities.


In 2008, the Conservative MP Paul Goodman questioned the British government''s support for the Lokahi Foundation, which runs a University interfaith project named Campusalam. Several hundred thousand pounds of taxpayers'' money was given to the Foundation, which has previously associated itself with Muslim Brotherhood groups such as the Cordoba Foundation and IslamExpo. The Islamist academic Tariq Ramadan, whom the US has previously refused a visa, is on Lokahi''s advisory board. The journalist Lee Smith has described Mr Ramadan – who has referred to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Bali and Madrid as nothing more than "interventions" -- as a cold-blooded Islamist whose "cry of death to the West is a quieter and gentler jihad, but it''s still jihad."


It is not just Government that is susceptible to exploitation. Rabbi Wittenberg, a prominent Jewish leader in Britain, recently defended his interfaith work with the East London Mosque and an interfaith group called London Citizens. The deputy chair of London Citizens is Junaid Ahmed, who has referred to senior Hamas terrorist Ismail Haniyeh as "our leader".


As for the East London Mosque, it is considered by many critics to be one of the most extreme religious institutions in Europe: one does not have to look far back through its events to find speakers who denounce women, Jews and homosexuals. Featured guests have included Sheikh Saad al-Beraik, who once stated:


"Muslim Brothers in Palestine, do not have any mercy neither compassion on the Jews, their blood, their money, their flesh. Their women are yours to take, legitimately. God made them yours. Why don''t you enslave their women? Why don''t you wage jihad? Why don''t you pillage them?"


Wittenberg responded to criticism of his collaboration with these groups by opining, "We have to take risks to engage with each other. The Jewish community will be far weaker if we all shelter within a comfort zone labeled ''They all hate us out there''."


By choosing to "engage," Wittenberg legitimizes the extremists as the warranted representatives of London''s Muslim population. The original task of these Jewish groups was interfaith dialogue, but conversely, by embracing the extremists within British Islam, Wittenberg has only succeeded in isolating all those Muslims who would have otherwise been delighted to enjoy authentically close relations with the British Jewish Community.

Read the rest here...