Friday, 25 April 2008

Moderate Muslims fight back

Some of those involved in launching the Quilliam Foundation have responded to Ziauddin Sardar's ludicrous attempt to dismiss them as a bunch of neocons. Here's Maajid Nawaz:

It is amazing that the foundation, which includes advisers such as Paddy Ashdown, Sheikh BaBikr Ahmed BaBikr, the Rev Giles Fraser, Catherine Fieschi and Professor Timothy Garton Ash, can be reduced to "neocon ex-extremists". Sardar goes even further: Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Bukhari, a great man of peace who spoke at our launch, is described as a "neocon Sufi" despite his dedication to campaigning for cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis and his anti-war message.

Meanwhile Yasmin Alibhai-Brown announces another encouraging development: the launch on 1st May of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, which will no doubt attract similar brickbats from Sardar et al. Look out for the Guardian comment piece on 2nd May explaining that the new organisation is a neocon front and unrepresentative of 'real' Muslim opinion.

Footnote: I found Alibhai-Brown's piece via Butterflies and Wheels, which also carries Sardar's original diatribe. I confess to being a little confused on finding the latter there, just as I was perturbed to come across Michael Parenti's apologia for Chinese policy in Tibet at the same site a couple of weeks ago. I'm all for websites featuring a range of opinion, but B&W's usual policy is to carry pieces which reflect its editors' relentless battle against woolly thinking - or else stories that point up the absurdities of various forms of irrationalism. Since both Parenti's and Sardar's articles appear to be prime examples of the 'fashionable nonsense' against which B&W struggles, I wonder if there's been a change of policy. I think we should be told.

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