This is a must read from the Observer. Former Islamist Hassan Butt writes,
When I was still a member of what is probably best termed the British Jihadi Network, a series of semi-autonomous British Muslim terrorist groups linked by a single ideology, I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy.
By blaming the government for our actions, those who pushed the 'Blair's bombs' line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.
Butt passionately urges Muslims to turn away from violence and, in passing, excoriates Ken Livingstone who, he claims, 'refused to acknowledge the role of Islamist ideology in terrorism and said that the Muslim Brotherhood and those who give a religious mandate to suicide bombings in
However, this is not just a 'bash the apologists' article but a thoughtful, brief exposition of Islamist doctrine. Butt argues that what drove him to support terrorism in the past was the sense of 'fighting for the creation of a revolutionary state that would eventually bring Islamic justice to the world'. He sounds very much like the young radicals who embarked on terrorism in
... come forward with a refashioned set of rules and a revised understanding of the rights and responsibilities of Muslims whose homes and souls are firmly planted in what I'd like to term the Land of Co-existence. And when this new theological territory is opened up, Western Muslims will be able to liberate themselves from defunct models of the world, rewrite the rules of interaction and perhaps we will discover that the concept of killing in the name of Islam is no more than an anachronism.
This very much echoes Tony Blair's comments about 'absurd' Islamist doctrines, but then Blair mentions a 'false sense of grievance'. He is still seeing rationalist, if deluded, sources for Islamist ideas. Butt is far more convincing, and chilling, when he describes the ideological basis of the movement as the extension of the premises of Islam by two critical steps.
Their first step has been to reason that since there is no Islamic state in existence, the whole world must be Dar ul-Kufr. Step two: since Islam must declare war on unbelief, they have declared war upon the whole world.
This revolutionary doctrine justifies an irrationalist and endless war for an unobtainable global goal and, whilst in the process of failing to obtain it, it advocates a duty to randomly kill large numbers of people and feel wholly justified in doing so. Butt is clearly right that there is an ideological challenge to be met and one hopes that the Islamic scholars will come forward and contest these doctrines effectively. The consequences of them not doing so is frightening. Those of us who are secularist non-Muslims have another duty, to contest fashionable apologism, whilst our governments (and this feels awkward from someone influenced by anarchism) act in collective self-defence.
This should read, "whilst our governments and baggage supervisors ... act in our collective self defence.