Friday, 26 September 2008

The SNP's flirtation with radical Islam

On online magazine Demokratiya, Tom Gallagher has an article which examines the SNP’s courtship of radical Islamists as a means by which to manage the Muslim community in Scotland and deliver its vote for the nationalists. Gallagher believes that Salmond’s party is playing a dangerous and divisive game in this respect, albeit it one which is consistent with the nationalist predilection for emphasising ‘group rights’ rather than individual rights.

“The SNP is using multicultural levers to manipulate religious identity in Scotland for electoral advantage, which I believe is likely to revive inter-confessional tensions as well as those between secular and religious interests.”


In its attempts to wow, particularly the Catholic and Muslim votes in Scotland, the SNP is approaching the communities as sectional interests rather than appealing to voters as individuals.

“They have mobilised not just autocratic Catholic prelates but radical Islamic politicians in the hope that by offering them group rights they will deliver an ethnic block vote to the party. This raises the spectre, in some eyes, that in a Scotland fully under SNP control, individual citizenship will count for little and the party will rule through a large bureaucracy which franchises control of education, policing, and other policy areas to mobilised factions inside and outside ethnic minorities.”


Gallagher is not kite-flying on this issue; he supports his thesis with substantial evidence. Additionally, the SNP’s tactics are consistent with nationalism’s conceptual insistence that people must be divided into distinct and exclusive groups, defined by religion or culture.

“It obliges people to belong to groups, defines those groups by cultural, or religious attributes, gives rights to such groups, and favours the granting of privileges (subsidies, quotas, legal immunities and so on) to them, in order to reinforce their identity. Community ‘leaders’ are hired by the state in order to manage these groups and state agencies proliferate to shape policies around their needs.”


Many of the policies which Salmond is pursuing in this area have been discredited in the rest of the UK. By forming a Muslim Police Association, for example, he has created “a separate tier of police to liase with Muslims, (encouraging) many of them to believe that they cannot approach non-Muslim officers with their culturally-specific problems”. These are measures which are helping to entrench, rather than overcome, division.

The specific groups and leaders to which the SNP are turning in order to engage Muslims as an ethno-religious group create particular concern.

“Salmond works largely through energetic young religious radicals who have advocated the return of an Islamic Caliphate, display an obsession with the Middle East and ending Western influence there and who support the incorporation of Sharia law into British jurisprudence.”


Close links between the SNP and the Scottish Islamic Foundation have been examined on Scottish Unionist previously. The organisation is an energetic pressure group for state funded Islamic schools. Alex Salmond supports the objectives of the group and its chief executive, Osama Saeed, to have schools in which the Koran is taught, the hijab is worn and the sexes are segregated. Amanullah de Sondy, lecturer in Islamic Studies at Glasgow University, has no doubt such schools will “leave young Muslims vulnerable to extremist pressures”. Gallagher notes,

“There are no strong voices pointing out that young people could be pushed towards introspection and even religious militancy through the insistence that Muslims combine a Scottish allegiance with an active search for their religious roots; nor drawing examples from other countries to suggest that tilting the Muslim community towards radicals could damage community relations in a traditionally volatile city like Glasgow.”


Scotland’s ‘Il Duce’ is so eager to pretend that Scotland is already an independent nation that he has been authorising ambassadorial outreaches to various parts of the world. The SIF is his administration’s ambassador to the Middle East. This is an organisation with close ties to the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign which has enjoyed a commensurate rise in its influence on Scots public life. “Mick Napier, its chairman, said in March that the West Bank Jewish theological college, Merkaz Harav (attacked in March, resulting in the killing of 8 students) was a legitimate target and the Palestinian attackers were acting in self-defence.”

Both Napier and Saeed addressed an event last August called ‘Weaving the Tartan: the Muslim contribution to Scotland’’. Saeed took the opportunity to propound the theory that, “Muslims don’t need lessons in democracy – they invented democracy and freedom of conscience and Islam spread so fast because it opposed tyranny”. A dangerously radical and highly contestable thesis by most standards. At the same event Aamer Anwar, a human rights lawyer, “proclaimed that the roots of terrorism in the West lie in the actions of Britain and the USA in the Middle East”. An argument which absolves terrorists themselves of any blame for their actions.

Due to the patronage of the SNP, Anwar and Saeed have become the pre-eminent figures to which the BBC has turned, in Glasgow, to provide a Muslim perspective. Their leadership credentials have therefore become self-perpetuating.

“Within the Muslim community, this editorial policy boosts radicals, as the uncommitted assume that it is only such views which count in Scottish life.”


Gallagher believes that the SNP’s centralising and authoritarian instincts have served to dampen criticism from both the media and universities. The Herald and Scotsman are increasingly emaciated organisations which are reluctant to criticise Salmond.

“Nor do the universities in Scotland have many voices prepared to speak up about the damage being caused by the state using religious figures to manage communities. There are no strong proponents of secular liberalism comparable to A.C. Grayling in England. This is hardly surprising since identity politics was legitimised first in academia and then by state service-providers. Recently, Edinburgh University’s Islamic Studies department received a huge bequest from a Saudi Arabian foundation. My own visits to the holdings of the premier centre of Islamic studies in Scotland reveal a paucity of works that examine Islam, and especially its politicisation, in a critical light.”


In the short term the SNP may benefit from its policies as regards Muslims, but in the long term the sectional aspect of these policies stores up trouble for the future.

“It is acceptable for Mr Salmond to look for votes among Muslims. But he should approach them as individual citizens whose religion is only one aspect of their identity and not necessarily the primary one. To franchise out the community to religious radicals and to use his party and the state agencies it now controls to buttress a religious identity is a highly irresponsible act. It means that a sectional outlook is likely to become entrenched in the community as it is placed in the control of religious gatekeepers. The opportunities for misunderstanding and friction with other Scots will surely abound.”


Gallagher’s article is not only a timely warning, but also a masterful exposition of the secondary damage which the nationalist outlook can inflict on society.

38 comments:

O'Neill said...

I had a little piece of the SIF's funding a little while ago, something distinctly whiffy why the SIF (only been set up this year) and not other Muslim community groups got priority:

http://unionistlite.blogspot.com/2008/08/snp-help-out-their-colleagues-in-sif.html

Also Salmond's whole hearted endorsement of religiously segregated schooling is something which secularist, nationalist Scots need to be thinking very carefully about.

Anonymous said...

Amiable dispatch and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you as your information.

Anonymous said...

I blog often and I really appreciate your content.
Your article has really peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your site and keep checking for new information about
once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.


Also visit my page; http://www.officielairjordansolde.com

Anonymous said...

Hi friends, its wonderful post regarding tutoringand
fully explained, keep it up all the time.

Also visit my weblog - NFL Jerseys Wholesale

Anonymous said...

Terrific post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on
this subject? I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Kudos!

Look into my web page Abercrombie Bruxelles

Anonymous said...

Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization?
I'm trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing very good results.
If you know of any please share. Kudos!

Feel free to visit my web-site ... nfl jerseys cheap

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Los angeles! I'm bored to death at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the knowledge you provide here and can't wait to take a
look when I get home. I'm shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .
. Anyways, superb blog!

my web blog ... Evgeni Malkin Authentic Jersey

Anonymous said...

It's awesome in support of me to have a web site, which is valuable in support of my know-how. thanks admin

my web page: http://www.wheelhousebikes.com/

Anonymous said...

It's hard to come by educated people about this topic, however, you sound like you know what you're talking about!
Thanks

Here is my site Michael Kors Handbags

Anonymous said...

Hello to every one, the contents existing at this site
are actually awesome for people knowledge, well, keep up the nice work fellows.


Also visit my site Cheap Jerseys

Anonymous said...

Hurrah, that's what I was seeking for, what a data! present here at this website, thanks admin of this web page.

Also visit my web site Air Jordan Pas Cher

Anonymous said...

This is the perfect web site for everyone who wants to find out about this topic.
You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need
to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic which has
been written about for years. Wonderful stuff, just great!

My web page: Kris Letang Black Jersey

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?
There's a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

Take a look at my site - http://wealthwayonline.com

Anonymous said...

Wow! After all I got a weblog from where I be capable
of genuinely take helpful data concerning my study and knowledge.


Review my page: Converse All Star

Anonymous said...

I am genuinely delighted to glance at this weblog posts which carries plenty of valuable data, thanks for providing these kinds of statistics.



Feel free to surf to my homepage ... Louis Vuitton Bags

Anonymous said...

I am genuinely delighted to glance at this weblog posts which carries plenty of valuable data,
thanks for providing these kinds of statistics.

Here is my homepage ... Louis Vuitton Bags

Anonymous said...

Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!
Very helpful information specially the last part
:) I care for such information much. I was seeking this particular information for a long time.

Thank you and good luck.

Here is my blog :: Louis Vuitton Bags

Anonymous said...

I am curious to find out what blog platform you are utilizing?
I'm experiencing some minor security problems with my latest blog and I would like to find something more safe. Do you have any solutions?

Also visit my web blog Sidney Crosby Jersey

Anonymous said...

I've been exploring for a little bit for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this kind of space . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website. Studying this information So i am happy to exhibit that I've a very just right uncanny feeling I discovered
just what I needed. I most indubitably will make sure to
don?t disregard this website and give it a glance regularly.


Also visit my web-site Cheap Louis Vuitton Bags

Anonymous said...

Hello, yup this article is really good and I have learned lot of things from it about blogging.
thanks.

Feel free to visit my homepage: Louis Vuitton Bags

Anonymous said...

Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.

The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Ie.
I'm not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I'd post to let you know.
The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon.
Kudos

Also visit my web-site :: NFL Jerseys Cheap

Anonymous said...

Hi there, all is going perfectly here and ofcourse every one is sharing data, that's really good, keep up writing.

Also visit my website ... Cheap Jerseys

Anonymous said...

I know this if off topic but I'm looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is required to get setup? I'm assuming having a blog
like yours would cost a pretty penny? I'm not very web smart so I'm not 100% sure.
Any recommendations or advice would be greatly
appreciated. Thanks

Stop by my web blog; Louis Vuitton Bags

Anonymous said...

I wanted to thank you for this great read!
! I certainly loved every little bit of it. I have got you book marked to look at new stuff you post…

Feel free to surf to my web page :: Abercrombie Pas Cher

Anonymous said...

This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found
something that helped me. Thanks a lot!

Here is my web-site Mario Lemieux Jersey

Anonymous said...

Superb, what a weblog it is! This blog provides
valuable facts to us, keep it up.

Here is my web page :: Michael Kors Canada

Anonymous said...

It's a pity you don't have a donate button! I'd most certainly donate to this outstanding blog! I suppose for now i'll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS
feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this blog with my Facebook group.

Chat soon!

Take a look at my homepage; Michael Kors Outlet

Anonymous said...

Pretty component to content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to claim that I acquire actually enjoyed account your
weblog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing for your augment or even I fulfillment you get entry to consistently rapidly.

Have a look at my web-site ... louis Vuitton Outlet

Anonymous said...

Having read this I believed it was rather enlightening.
I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this informative
article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both
reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


Review my web site ... Chaussure De Foot Pas Cher

Anonymous said...

It is appropriate time to make some plans for
the future and it is time to be happy. I've read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read more things about it!

Visit my web-site NFL Jerseys Cheap

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog you've got here.. It's difficult to find good quality writing like yours
these days. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!
!

Feel free to surf to my website; http://slc-wireless.com/sac-louis-vuitton-pas-cher.html

Anonymous said...

I don't even understand how I ended up here, but I believed this submit used to be great. I don't know
who you're however certainly you're going to a famous blogger
for those who are not already. Cheers!

My page; Abercrombie and Fitch

Anonymous said...

I visited various web sites except the audio quality for audio songs existing at this web page is genuinely
excellent.

Look into my weblog; website

Anonymous said...

What's up, after reading this awesome article i am as well delighted to share my familiarity here with mates.

Also visit my web site :: Discover More

Anonymous said...

Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us
you really recognise what you're talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly also consult with my site =). We may have a hyperlink change arrangement among us

my homepage - Air Max

Anonymous said...

Hello! I just wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information
you have right here on this post. I will be returning to your
website for more soon.

my site Mulberry Outlet UK

Anonymous said...

Fantastic items from you, man. I have take into accout your stuff prior to and you're just extremely wonderful. I really like what you have received here, really like what you are stating and the way in which wherein you are saying it. You make it entertaining and you continue to care for to stay it sensible. I cant wait to learn much more from you. That is really a terrific website.

Feel free to visit my web site Louis Vuitton Outlet

Anonymous said...

If some one needs to be updated with most up-to-date technologies then he must be go to see
this web page and be up to date everyday.

Feel free to surf to my blog post :: Nike Air Max (nysacpr.org)