Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Muslims and the Conservative Party

When the Conservative Party launched its interim report on community cohesion – Uniting the Country – it was a serious attempt to listen, to engage, to avoid the ‘clash of civilisations’ apocalypse which the pre-millennialists widely prophesy. Some minority ethnic groups embraced the progress – in particular those of an Indian Sikh and Hindu heritage – but it has been rejected virtually wholesale by those who profess to speak on behalf of Pakistani Muslims. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) deemed it to be ‘poorly researched and poorly argued’, and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) considered it a ‘weak and damaging document which made unsubstantiated comments’.

This tone of criticism from these organisations is proof positive that the Conservative Party is on the right track. The reality is that Conservatism and Islam could find much that unites them, not least because the essence of Conservatism coheres with all expressions of faith. The mistake (and unintended offence) is in trying to identify a Muslim community, for, like all religions and cults, it is riddled with dissent and division. The Muslim communities do cannot agree among themselves on virtually any matter, save the status of the Qur’an and a professed reverence for Mohammed. When it comes to global politics, the likes of the MCB and MPAC would have us believe that there is one Islamic answer to Israel/Palestine, one Islamic answer to terrorism, to Iraq, to Afghanistan, to Kashmir; indeed, one Islamic answer to just about everything, and every 'proper' Muslim ought to desire Shari'a law in the UK and be dedicated to ushering in the Caliphate.

But, in reality, the overwhelming majority of Muslims are as unconcerned with these macro-political issues as Christians are with 'Europe'. There is, instead, an overriding concern with domestic politics – mundane matters of everyday living in a liberal Western democracy – and the vast majority of Muslims are content to integrate and assimilate, desiring to live their lives privately, bring up their families respectfully, live side-by-side peaceably with respect for the rule of law and gratitude for the liberties they enjoy. These are recurrent Qur'anic themes of universal application. These liberal Muslims (which the media patronisingly term 'moderate') are innately conservative, and they are undoubtedly more Conservative than Liberal: they desire individual freedom, and prioritise personal and family responsibility. They want their children (male and female) to be well-educated, they want them to be successful, and they embrace the principles of the free market economy as they desire to make something better of themselves, unfettered by overbearing government.

When Mr Cameron went to live with a Muslim family, it at least constituted an attempt to reach out to an alienated group who feel that they have no fixed abode; it gave the impression of loving one’s neighbour. Unfortunately, a rather high profile Conservative Muslim has dismissed this as disingenous PR. In a scathing attack on Mr Cameron, Ali Miraj, a candidate in the last General Election, insists that ‘the Tories have still not realised that it takes more than picking an Asian candidate to reverse a scandalous neglect of engaging with people from ethnic minorities since the days of Enoch Powell’.

This is an uneducated and warped view of history, a misunderstanding of Conservative philosophy, and a gross misrepresentation of the views of Enoch Powell. If Conservatism is about anything, it is equality, and out of an understanding of the meaning of equality arises the principle of meritocracy. While the Socialists would seek to assist the advancement of Mr Miraj by placing him into a host of convenient pigeon-holes and labelling him black, Asian, or Muslim (or, for that matter, gay, straight, or Christian) and demanding that he tick all the right boxes in order to facilitate their programmes of social engineering, the Conservative Party views him as an individual. He is human and British (even English), but beyond that there is nothing with which Conservatism ought to concern itself.

Far from there having been a ‘scandalous neglect’ of ethnic minorities since the 1970s, there have been concerted efforts to listen, involve, and engage. And neither has this been a patronising Empire approach, but a dialogue of equals. Out of this has emerged Conservative groups for both Muslims and Sikhs, and the lack of a Hindu forum is probably only down to the fact that few understand what Ganesh and Krishna are all about. There is something monotheistic about Conservatism, but not monolithically and irredeemably so. It can adapt and mould to all cultures, and find expression in all faiths.

Just as the Apostle Paul praised the faith of Athenians at the Areopagus, it is time for the Conservative Party to proclaim the incomparability of its own creed, and boast of its life-giving liberty, respect for the family, the upholding of tradition, and universal edification. And then it might consider highlighting just how profoundly damaging a decade of Labour has been for all faiths in the United Kingdom, with the diminution of marriage, the restrictions on free speech, and the perpetual affront to matters of religious conscience.

Pace Ali Miraj, the ‘ethnic minorities’ will come flocking.

13 Comments:

Blogger Nadim said...

One of the most balanced articles I've read on Islam and the involvement of Muslims in British politics. I've never seen a problem, but I've listened to many mosque rants telling me what is the Muslim way to think on everything, and then I wonder why I don't have a problem.

Muslims in Britain are as capable or susceptoble of being secularised as Christians. There are good things and bad that come of this, but no-one can deny that it is mainly good when Muslims are capable of seeing more than one answer to a problem. In that plurality you can find the voice of the Muslim who has learned to live in the 21st century, and he's not such a bad sort at all.

31 July 2007 at 14:48  
Blogger dizzyfatplonka said...

Surely chasing the ethnic minority vote will only help haemorage support from the British tory camp.
After all even true blue folk can see that Britain is a race aswell as a place, if it becomes Asian it will be Asian.
Britain can't just become a place name on a map, colonized by Asia.

What kind of lagacy would that be, its probably time for all parties to admit defeat once the ethnic minority vote is required for power, time to wave the white flag and surrender your country.

Left and right politics is so outdated, enslaved to a way of thinking that allows a country to be conquered at the ballot box. Tut Tut im glad im just an indigenous tenant paying to live on this landowners plot, atleast it helps me understand that my people are the British, not the land under my feet.

31 July 2007 at 16:12  
Anonymous Brian Moore said...

An interesting read - very thought provoking piece.

31 July 2007 at 16:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You aver "Far from there having been a ‘scandalous neglect’ of ethnic minorities since the 1970s, there have been concerted efforts to listen, involve, and engage".
But history shows:-
1. The Anglo Asian Conservative Society
Founded 1978. Closed down by Party 1985/6

2 One Nation Forum
Started in 1978 to encourageAsian community members to work actively through local associations and encouraging them to stand for local council seats and apply to join the approved parliamentary list.

3 CCO Culture Unit
set up in 1997 under Baroness Buscombe who, writing in the Spectator September 2001, said:-
“I couldn't help noticing the parallel between the way the Conservative party treated women and the way it handled ethnic minorities. One of the achievements I am most proud of as vice-chairman was getting rid of the One Nation Forum, which is the organisation where they put anyone who looked or sounded a bit foreign. …….

4 Ethnic Diversity Council
in 2005 at the Party Conference, Conservative Chairman, Francis Maude found it necessary to launch the Party's new Ethnic Diversity Council “to address the need to better engage with ethnic minority communities across Britain”

31 July 2007 at 16:44  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Cranmer, have you thought of offering your services to Cameron? I know you're dead, but you're still head and shoulders better than whoever else they've got advising them on this multiculti stuff.

31 July 2007 at 17:28  
Anonymous A-team said...

Good article. Most Muslims are moderate, as George Bush well understands. For this very reason the Middle East can be democratised.

31 July 2007 at 17:39  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

Pace Ali Miraj, the ‘ethnic minorities’ will come flocking.

The ethnics will flock to whatever they think they can exploit. From Guido Fawkes:

'Slow news day? David Cameron and William Hague just seemingly accused a Tory so called supporter of being a "blackmailer" in effect.''Slow news day? David Cameron and William Hague just seemingly accused a Tory so called supporter of being a "blackmailer" in effect.'

Let me explain something about our South Asian cousins. I lived long amongst them and we got along very well.

However. The South Asians belong to only one political party: the South Asian political party.

Of course the propective candidate lost his rag with all this democracy and selection panels and waiting around for political office.

The long slog of public service? Forget it. If that mad Muslim women is stuffed straight into the Lords by Dave, why not him?

And Tony Lit? The worst case of opportunism ever. He, like many members of South Asian party, will just use the political infrastructure as a ladder. Doesn't matter which party, really.

Labour, of course, has been kissing SA arse for years. Primary Purpose rule (which helped stop forced marriages) and postal votes were both scrappe, something lobbied for by the SA party.

They wanted postal votes so the 'village elders' could go round collect them and fill them in 'properly'. This was partly an attempt to disenfranchise SA women and Labour handed it to them on a plate.

I was up in East Lancs recently and saw the local rag's lead story. Two local councillors released from jail after being convicted over ballot rigging. SA? natch.

Anybody care to reveal the extent which the ballot rigging scandals have primarily involved the SA party? Maybe I'm wrong, but maybe that's why the whole affair got so little coverage in the press.

Yes SAs are very often clever, personable, hard working and all that. But ultimately, they are in the SA party and when they can't their own way, they'll switch sides in a second.

As Dave has just found out.

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8212152&postID=2366819333563026459

Let me explain something about our South Asian cousins. I lived long amongst them and we got along very well.

However. The South Asians belong to only one political party: the South Asian political party.

Of course the propective candidate lost his rag with all this democracy and selection panels and waiting around for political office.

The long slog of public service? Forget it. If that mad Muslim women is stuffed straight into the Lords by Dave, why not him?

And Tony Lit? The worst case of opportunism ever. He, like many members of South Asian party, will just use the political infrastructure as a ladder. Doesn't matter which party, really.

Labour, of course, has been kissing SA arse for years. Primary Purpose rule (which helped stop forced marriages) and postal votes were both scrappe, something lobbied for by the SA party.

They wanted postal votes so the 'village elders' could go round collect them and fill them in 'properly'. This was partly an attempt to disenfranchise SA women and Labour handed it to them on a plate.

I was up in East Lancs recently and saw the local rag's lead story. Two local councillors released from jail after being convicted over ballot rigging. SA? natch.

Anybody care to reveal the extent which the ballot rigging scandals have primarily involved the SA party? Maybe I'm wrong, but maybe that's why the whole affair got so little coverage in the press.

Yes SAs are very often clever, personable, hard working and all that. But ultimately, they are in the SA party and when they can't their own way, they'll switch sides in a second.

As Dave has just found out.

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=8212152&postID=2366819333563026459

31 July 2007 at 17:57  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Nadim,

You are most welcome to His Grace's blog of intelligent and erudite comment upon matters religio-political. His Grace sincerely hopes you stay longer than previous Mohammedans.

Mr/Mirs/Miss/Ms Anonymous,

Your points are cogent, and His Grace would love to respond, but it is his policy not to engage with anonymice.

Mr Oiznop,

His Grace is gainfully and respectably employed, and could never submit himself to the fickle tantrums of politicians.

Mr Nedsherry,

Are you wont to repeat yourself?

31 July 2007 at 18:08  
Anonymous Observer said...

Mr Nedsherry,

Are you wont to repeat yourself?


He is an Adlai Stevenson man - recall he said We often gain more from repetition of the obvious than elaboration of the obscure

31 July 2007 at 22:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the acknowledgement.
First a correction, One Nation Forum was started in 1986 not 1978.
Second, whilst I do have a web log, there are advantages to being an anonymouse when no response is required other than to correct the facts if they are wrong and that is best done on your site. Too often, and I am not immune from this, points of view are posted as if they were facts.
The purpose of the “anonymous” comment was to show readers that even if there had been “concerted efforts to listen, involve and engage (with ethnic minorities)” that statement was open to challenge in the light of the historical facts.

Great site!

1 August 2007 at 09:07  
Blogger Serf said...

the Conservative Party views him as an individual. He is human and British (even English), but beyond that there is nothing with which Conservatism ought to concern itself.

This is a philosophy that I agree with 100%. Unfortunately the Leftists have successfully tarred it as racist. How we change that, I don't know.

1 August 2007 at 12:39  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

Cranmer --

The quote is not mine, tho' I wish it had been.

...the Conservative Party views him as an individual. He is human and British (even English), but beyond that there is nothing with which Conservatism ought to concern itself.

Anyone who thinks Conservatism need not concern itself with the race of those it recruits is contributing to the destruction of Conservatism. "Dave" is learning the hard way where snuggling up the ethnics leads.

1 August 2007 at 22:58  
Anonymous buster said...

Enoch Powell represented a constituency that had a lot of Asians. Some of them must have voted for him. I suggest that the constituency was lost by the antics of Enoch's successor who was instrumental in bring the John Major government down and not much of a constituency MP.
The current Nulabour MP is a very good constituency MP and gets my vote because of that. As a former, and would be, Conservative I see nothing to make me believe that DC has any interest in what concerns me.

1 August 2007 at 23:49  

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