There was a good programme last week on Channel 4 about Muslims looking for love, or at least marriage. It was called ‘Extremely British Muslims’, and it did indeed show us some young Muslims who were very much like anyone else. But it was also a reminder that many Muslims have a deep-seated assumption about religion and secularism that the rest of don’t.
Lots of these young Muslims, though not very religious, saw it as their duty to become more religious as they grew up and settled down. Religion, for them, was an essential part of becoming responsible, civic-minded, family-minded, and about putting away youthful selfishness. And – the other side of the coin – secularism was assumed to be devoid of such healthy values, the site of mere hedonism.
This is a big difference from the majority culture. The rest of us, even if we are religious, see that there is plenty of good in secularism. We are familiar with the long tradition of secular humanist idealism, and we know many people who strive to exemplify it.
Muslims are more likely to have a binary moral narrative, drummed into them in childhood and difficult to dislodge: social virtue is religious, secularism is the site of selfish rebellion against it. Their own young lives seem to prove it: they drift away from religion for a while, in their self-centred late teens and early twenties. [491 comments]
[TOP RATED COMMENT 55 votes] It's no good us saying what Islam needs because we are unbelievers who should be forced to obey Islam.
What we think has no influence on Islam, and that is exactly the problem.
[2ND 30] "This is a major part of the reform that Islam needs – it must admit that there is virtue in secularism."
"Needs"? In order to do what - to accommodate our Western expectations of it? I can imagine a Muslim laughing at you saying that. "Why don't you go and die, infidel? You betrayed your God, but I wouldn't betray mine."
You can't integrate someone who's not willing to - and what's the point for Muslims to integrate? It's not like they have any pressure to do that. On the contrary - keeping to their colours grants them numerous benefits in modern Western society.
[3RD 22] Islam will never be "reformed". Any Muslim who criticised his religion let alone attempted to alter the "precepts" of the Koran, would risk death.
[4TH 17] Anybody who wants to see how Islam treats those it perceives as weaker than itself need only go to Africa, and all will become abundantly clear. Islamised countries have been culturally cleansed of everything outside Islam, their names erased, their languages largely forgotten.
And it marches relentlessly southward. For a time this was held in check, as it was by imperialism in India, but now it is free to force itself on the masses. Christianity and animism on that continent are doomed.
Islam has absolutely no incentive to reform. The West is weak, Africa is beyond weak, and the rest of the world doesn't care. [The Spectator] Read more