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

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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Today is a bigger Shabbes than usual in the Jewish world because it has been chosen to launch the Shabbos Project  

Shabbes exerts a pull on all Jews, and today is bigger than ever

Howard Jacobson
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker