Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Sane, ordinary Muslims must stand up and be counted

These nihilists undermine our fundamental right to belong in this country

Share

As they wake up to news of the foiled car-bomb attack on Glasgow Airport, I know what millions of my compatriots - atheists, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews and Christians - will be saying, their easy Sunday ruined by yet another alleged Islamicist plot: "What's wrong with these crazed Muslims?" "Why the hell are they here if they hate it so much?" "When will we be rid of the lot of them?" "What do they want?" "Other minorities also have a hard time, they don't blow up nightclubs and airports".

What these aggrieved Britons don't realise is that exactly the same conversations are taking place in most Muslim households too, with many more expletives flying. Sane, ordinary British Muslims are even less forgiving of such nihilists, whose barbarism undermines our fundamental right to belong to this country as absolute equals. These are hobby terrorists with screwdrivers and screwed heads; they appropriate legitimate concerns, turn them into excuses on their own violent reality shows, sure to be broadcast again and again on screens around the world.

With no politics, no aim, no dreams, no noble imperative, for these Islamicists and their ideological masters, the means is the end. They are at once satanic abusers of our faith and social misfits unloved by all except their own reject band of brothers. Scorned by those they claim to defend, the dreaded sociopaths now seem determined to wound fatally the social contract made between this country and Muslim citizens. Only each assault deepens our sense of nationhood. We still rail against racism and unethical government policies - and I do so incessantly, as you know. Unlike self-righteous neocon liberals, we see how our young are profoundly affected by Iraq and Palestine. However, when bloodthirsty Islamicists strike, we experience a collective intensification of our attachment to Britain. There is no place like this home for us, the only place we want to live and die in.

On Saturday night, at a lavish Shia wedding in Hertfordshire, Muslim guests were livid about "these bastards giving us a bad name". "Send them packing to the Middle East or Pakistan," said a solicitor to much cheering at one table. "Time to say we love this country. For Muslims, no better country - that's why so many want to come over," added a businessman, who had come here penniless and turned his fortunes around within 10 years.

The father of the bride, too, arrived in Britain with little and joined a small English family firm. He brought entrepreneurial energy; they gave him encouragement and support. This ultra-loyal immigrant for many years led the pre-dawn prayers at our main mosque in Kensington.

As we enter another hyper-crisis period, the danger is we will again succumb to the dystopian nightmare of irreconcilable clashes and culture wars. Calls for draconian laws are sure to ring through the nervous land, although thus far the new government sounds more temperate.

The measured response is an acknowledgement that few Muslims now excuse the killing brigades. The apologist Muslim Council of Britain, whose leader was knighted by Mr Blair, is a spent force. It tried to incite rage and riot over Salman Rushdie's knighthood and failed. Muslims realise what a disaster that confrontation was for both sides. Now, the MCB grovels and seeks rehabilitation. Ex-militant Ed Hussain and Hassan Butt have written denunciations of fellow jihadis. The hardline Hizb-ut Tahrir asks Muslims not to "fuel dangerous political agendas". These organisations have been humbled and discredited.

One Independent reader, a graduate, described how Islamicists operated on campus. An idealistic young woman, she fell for the leader, a charismatic man who all too soon did her head in and wrapped it up in a cloak of his choosing: "He commanded me to declare I hate this country and got me into a niqab. Then one day I heard him chatting up this new student and he was saying exactly the same things to her as he said to me when we met, about beautiful eyes, and how he loved women with spirit. I told him to bugger off." Her hair is lovely in the photo she sent me, free now as she is.

I am not naive. Islamicists are cunning and well-connected. Their backers pretend to believe in liberal democracy while plotting its demise. But there are now passionate Muslim democrats standing up to be counted.

Imran Ahmad, young trustee of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, writes in Unimagined, his evocative memoir: "I have had great opportunities and choices. There still is racism in the indigenous society, it's undeniable ... but [compare] Britain to all those so-called Islamic countries, where tribalism is endemic and anything is used as an excuse for discrimination, hatred and mistreatment: village, clan, family, sect, province, class, money, gender, occupation, even shade of skin. At least Britain is committed to implement the highest ideals - personal freedom, social equality, human rights and justice."

With friends like these, Britain can beat its enemies within. Have faith; a time will come when jihadis will terrorise our lives no more.

y.alibhai-brown@independent.co.uk

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own