Guardian: Can Muslims trust the Tories?
Yet it is one which obviously preoccupies Sarfraz Manzoor of The Guardian, as he ponders whether or not the Conservative Party has changed ‘since Enoch Powell gave his notorious speech in Birmingham’.
Why is this one speech by one Tory at one particular time deemed to encapsulate the beliefs and attitudes of all Tories for all time? It is not the Conservative Party which is incapable of change, but prejudiced journalists like Mr Manzoor who seek to tarnish entire groups of people because of the attitudes or actions of a few. If one were to ask ‘Can Tories trust Muslims?’, doubtless Mr Manzoor would be among the first to cry ‘racism’ or ‘Islamophobia’.
The Powell speech did not distort all discussion about race and immigration; it was the media response to it, and that remains the case. Even now, the moment anyone seeks to raise the subject it is usually the pathologically ‘centre-left’ media which silences those who dare to raise their heads above the parapet with cries of ‘extremism’, ‘racism’, or accusations of being (God forbid) ‘right wing’ which has itself become synonymous with extremism.
But Mr Manzoor is concerned to know if Enoch Powell is somehow vindicated because of the rise of ‘political Islamism’. It is such a tautology which persuades Cranmer towards the view that The Guardian has no depth and that Mr Manzoor is out of his. He clearly had little time for the Conference discussion on the distinction between Islam and Islamism. He summarises: ‘There was no inconsistency between the values of Islam and an open society: the quarrel was with those who had hijacked the religion for political purposes. And yet even though the panel were (sic) proclaiming the necessity of drawing a clear distinction between mainstream Islam and the ideology of Islamism, the audience had been handed a photocopied front page of yesterday's Sunday Express whose front page screamed: "Cameron: I'll curb Muslim fanatics".
And the dissemination of such an article really proves that Tories really do harbour racist views, does it not?
There are so many arguments one may adduce to negate Mr Manzoor’s facile reasoning that Cranmer can hardly be bothered. When it comes to the question of whether Muslims can trust the Tories, the simple response is that they will - if they are Tories. And, surprising as this may be to The Guardian, many thousands of them are. But then one might consider Mr Cameron’s ‘A-list’, designed specifically to permit candidates like Rehman Chisti to be selected for winnable or safe seats. Or the elevation of Sayeeda Warsi to the Lords to become ‘Britain's most senior Muslim politician’, which, according to Labour MP Sadiq Khan, was ‘because of her religion.
And Mr Cameron proposes to ban such groups such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, to confront the quasi-legitimacy bestowed upon organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain, and to encourage ‘the teaching of a more moderate interpretation of Islam in mosques’. There is also the possibility of the compulsory teaching of history in schools and the establishment of an ‘Institute of British Islam’.
If Mr Manzoor or any other British Muslims have any problems with these proposals – which are manifestly for the immense benefit of all British Muslims – then they should not only look to another political party, but to another country.
But Mr Manzoor is not persuaded ‘the nasty party’ can rise to the challenge of distinguishing the extremists from the law-abiding and peaceful. He is not persuaded that Conservatives can ‘show that their rightful concerns about Islamism are not a proxy restatement of broader prejudices’ and he questions whether Conservatives ‘are at ease with a diverse and heterogeneous society’.
Well, Mr Manzoor, how many Muslims are ‘at ease with a diverse and heterogeneous society’?
And what makes you think Muslims can trust Labour?
The Conservative Party represents the entire British population irrespective of race, colour or religion. The Conservative Party does wish to ensure that the Muslim community is fully involved in our national life at all levels. And what have the past 10 years done to encourage Islamic beliefs in enterprise, in the sense of community, the belief in the family and in the value of hard work?
How many Muslim businesses have been helped by a decade of Labour? How is it that so many Muslims are trapped in areas of great deprivation? How is it that the rate of unemployment among Muslims has risen to 15 per cent? How is it that there is a general underachievement of Muslim children in school, the health of Muslims in below average and there is a lack of interaction in many areas?
Ah, this must be the fault of the Conservative Party.
Or perhaps, just perhaps, Mr Manzoor is permitting his political ideology to colour his theological perception and cloud his sociological judgement.