Such an important issue this, as is evidenced on front pages everywhere last week and Questiontime on BBC 1 last Thursday.
Opinions ranged from Rory Stewart(*1) saying “Kill them, there is no alternative” to the leftist intellectuals saying “understand them, hug them but then imprison them” to the Questiontime audience saying “don’t let them back in, they have lost any rights, they might have had as British citizens”, by going out there to fight for ISIS etc.
What I think what Rory Stewart might have been trying to say, follows on from an insight by Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels)
“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into“.
This wisdom applies equally to all those ‘of faith’ but more particularly, these jihadis really do believe that Allah has told them to kill anyone who is not a true Muslim. You have to be the Sunni variety of Muslim to avoid death which explains why so many of Muslims are being killed by ISIS.
If you want to know why we have this relatively recent emergence of Sunni Islamism (ISIS and Al Qaeda etc.), just read a brief biography of the Egyptian poet, writer & political theorist who started it all in the 1980s, Sayyid Qutb.
If a person accepts a primary falsehood as truth, then seemingly rational and possibly violent actions may well follow.
So then, having quietly accepted from childhood, that the Qur’an is the unalterable word of god, it is the Muslim’s duty to fight for a universal caliphate under sharia law, however long it takes. (*2)
Our home grown jihadis are therefore following, quite logically (to them at least), the endlessly repeated calls for jihad in the Qur’an. *7
Some of these returning jihadis may well have been disillusioned by the reality and cruelty of ISIS, but most will be still motivated to return and kill the Kuffar, that’s you if you didn’t already know.
Atheists, like me, are the worst ;-( of course. We don’t even get a mention in the Qur’an whereas the Christians and Jews get quite a pasting!
Most so-called ‘moderate Muslims’ don’t want to establish a caliphate, they just want to educate their kids and put food on the table and live in peace. Most of those Muslim families now living in the West came here originally to escape the misery of corrupt, socially primitive Islamic states such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and many more.
Our own monarchy invented a new religion some 500 years ago, with the help of Martin Luther. This was because of a need to extend male succession to the throne and the need to divorce a few wives because they could not provide male heirs. The priests of which religion, appointed by Henry VIII still sit at the centre of our, gentle but imperfect ‘representative democracy’ and cannot be removed.
Our current queen is head of that religion and still retains the title of Defender of (the) Faith assumed by Henry.
Our next monarch, god forbid (ahem), wants to become Defender of All Faiths, completely ignoring the advances in human philosophical thought developed into maturity during the European Enlightenment because he thinks its all a bit old fashioned (my source is an article in the Spectator) and comes from a speech he made a few years ago in St. James palace.
Words fail one!
I do appreciate that short term measures are needed and must be taken, but I am content to pass that responsibility to our government and the rule of law.
But nowhere, last week, did I read or hear of any proposed long term solution to the misguided and corrupt ideology of ISIS.
Here then, is my much repeated long term solution and the only one that I think will or can ever work.
Sadly it cannot be implemented or accepted by those currently in power, particularly here, in the second of only two remaining theocracies (*3) in the world; the other one being Iran!
The rest of the world are republics *4, monarchies, usually without an established religion *5, tyrannies *6 or failed states.
The real underlying problem to all of this, is that faith is an irrational state of mind, absorbed from childhood, and, like all forms of brain washing, is very difficult to remove.
My solution therefore cannot currently be accepted because we would have to challenge and defeat the idea that Anglican Christianity is a valid part of the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
We would have to:-
- remove the monarchy, in order to
- disestablish the Anglican Church of England, so that we could then
- remove the teaching of religion as if it were a truth, from all schools, so that we can then
- challenge the idea that faith is a desirable human attribute, so that we can
- merge existing faith schools into a mainstream secular education system (as in France) , so that we can then
- remove the existing and future divisions in society caused by faith schools, so that we can then
- allow our children’s minds to be formed by access to philosophy, by asking questions and not to be given dogmatic answers, so that they may
- grow into adults who no longer are socially divided by having to believe in something in order to belong
I do not propose the abolition of religion because so many people draw comfort from their faith BUT I do insist that ONLY by removing it from public life and the education of our children do we any chance of a harmonious society and a peaceful future.
*1 Rory Stewart is Minister of State at the Department for International Development and as Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. He has extensive knowledge of the middle and far east. Wrote a book on his notorious 32 day walk around Afghanistan in 2002. Eton and Oxford and ever so posh.
*2 I have read the Qur’an twice in different versions over the last few years and from my western eyes and ears it has a belligerent tone, a monotonous repetitive style and is even more scary than the Old Testament. If you want a real Halloween scare story just read Deuteronomy & Numbers, yikes!
*3 Theocracy:- A form a government where priests from a country’s established religion form part of the legislative process of government by right!
*4 Republics:- First formed by the ancient Romans two thousand years ago following on from the Greeks who developed the first forms of democracy although not quite as we know it today. The Greeks, even then, realised that monarchies were a bit old fashioned, inefficient, led to corruption and had seen their day!
*5 Monarchies:- The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Belgium, Bahrain, Brunei, Japan etc. In all about 43 remain.
*6 Tyrannies:- North Korea, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Scotland (OK, just joking, I have a thing about Nicola Sturgeon, and no, not in that way), Zimbabwe and quite a few more.
*7 Jihad originally refers to an inner struggle that all Muslims must endure in order to submit to the word of Allah in the Qur’an, but has latterly become associated with an external violent fight for the universal Caliphate that Allah requires.