29 June 2015

The anti-extremism speech that Cameron should make

.... ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood disagree about a very great deal, but the beliefs of both flow from the same source: politicised and violent religion, expressed in the writings of Qutb (and, on the sub-continent, Maududi) – a reaction to the failure of the wider Middle East, as Baathism and secular dictatorship were in previous decades.

This is why the Prime Minister refers to “poisonous ideology” in a Daily Telegraph article today: indeed, he likes the phrase so much that he uses it twice. In opposition, he was pulled one way by Michael Gove, Pauline Neville-Jones and (insofar as it made any difference) myself, and the other by Sayeeda Warsi and Dominic Grieve.

The first camp stressed the centrality of combating ideology, the second the importance of gaining support – “winning Muslim hearts and minds”. If politicians can be divided into warriors and healers, Cameron is a healer: by inclination and experience, he is a pragmatic One Nation Tory with an instinct for compromise and a necessary focus on winning votes. His flintiness on Islamist extremism, which I have seen at first-hand, is thus rather surprising. [ConservativeHome] Read more