Imran Waheeb, media representative of the Islamist extremists Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, writes on the Guardian’s CiF site about free speech.
Most of what he says is the usual sophistry, eliding measured criticism with abuse and violence. This can be disregarded. But here’s a snippet that caught my eye. Arguing that there is “growing hysteria against British Muslims”, he claims:
“Over the last year, we have seen the furore over the Danish cartoons, the Pope quoting descriptions of Islam as ‘evil and inhuman’, aspects of Islam labelled an ‘evil ideology’ by Tony Blair and the use of the term Islamo-fascism by George Bush.”
Take the Blair quote. This was from a speech he made about a week after the London bombing. What was it he described as an “evil ideology”?
“What we witnessed in London last Thursday week was not an aberrant act. … Senseless though any such horrible murder is, it was not without sense for its organisers. It had a purpose. It was done according to a plan. It was meant.
“What we are confronting here is an evil ideology. It is not a clash of civilisations – all civilised people, Muslim or other, feel revulsion at it. But it is a global struggle and it is a battle of ideas, hearts and minds, both within Islam and outside it.
“This is a religious ideology, a strain within the world-wide religion of Islam, as far removed from its essential decency and truth as Protestant gunmen who kill Catholics or vice versa, are from Christianity.
“From the mid 1990s onwards, statements from Al-Qaeda, gave very clear expression to this ideology: ‘Every Muslim, the minute he can start differentiating, carries hatred towards the Americans, Jews and Christians. This is part of our ideology. The creation of Israel is a crime and it has to be erased. You should know that targeting Americans and Jews and killing them anywhere you find them on the earth is one of the greatest duties and one of the best acts of piety you can offer to God Almighty.’”
So, let’s be crystal clear: when the Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman defends “aspects of Islam” against this criticism, he is endorsing murderous terrorism as Islamic. His group is championing al-Qaeda and, by extension, stealthily damning the majority of Muslims who oppose violent extremism - even as it purports to stand up for them.
Why is the Guardian providing a platform for such third-rate apologistic sophistry?