For which beliefs is Baroness Warsi prepared to die?
Presumably, these threats have not come from the Real IRA, ETA, the PKK or Fatah. And neither have they been made by Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, though with these last three we may be getting nearer to the ideological root of her would-be assassins: The Telegraph simply states: ‘It is believed that the peer has faced serious threats from Muslim extremists’.
This is, of course, disturbing, if unsurprising, and one hopes that the police and anti-terrorist forces have been mobilised to intercept and neuter this murderous Islamist cell. With Cabinet ministers now in their sights, it appears that Islamist extremists are the new IRA and Islamism has replaced Irish Nationalism as Britain’s major terrorist threat.
Perhaps, in 20 years or so, the Prime Minister will be welcoming Abdullah al-Sharia into Downing Street and offering his reformed-but-unrepentant associate terrorists a couple of seats in Parliament.
The Telegraph’s use of ‘Muslim extremists’ is unfortunate, for it is a vile phrase to which the Baroness referred in her ‘Islamophobia has now passed the dinner-table-test’ speech of January. We were told that to talk of ‘Muslim extremists’ is not conducive to a proper view of either Islam or Muslims. She said: “And when it comes to extremism, we should be absolutely clear: these people are extremists, plain and simple.” That is to say, they are not Muslim extremists, for that is to tarnish all Muslims and encourage Islamophobia across ‘the threshold of middle class respectability’.
His Grace is immensely fond of the Baroness (see here, here, here, here and here). But she can be astonishingly naive, insensitive, hypocritical, and is sometimes very poorly advised.
Since the Baroness has made it clear that one ought not to use the term ‘Muslim extremists’, His Grace is content to simply call them Muslims, or terrorists, or Islamists (though it is not clear if the latter term is acceptable to her).
In the face of these terrorist threats, the Baroness has responded: “If that means you have a short but productive life, that is worth doing, than having a long but play-it-safe life. I believe that there are things that are far more important. If people when they were fighting against apartheid or fighting for the black civil rights movement … thought I could be dead tonight if I do this – I don’t think people think like that when people feel passionately enough about something and feel this is an issue of huge principle.”
She said: “Why go into politics if you are not going to be brave? If you want to stand on the sidelines and not stand up for what you believe in, politics is the wrong game to be in.”
Coming just days after the assassination of the Christian Shahbaz Bhatti in Pakistan, and a few months after the assassination of the atheist Salman Taseer, Baroness Warsi’s comments might be considered a little insensitive, as though there were some parallel between what Christians and atheists face in Pakistan when they dare to oppose the country’s medieval blasphemy laws, and what a British Muslim like Baroness Warsi faces every day at CCHQ. Being a martyr for religious liberty is not quite the same as being prepared to die for the Big Society.
But it is not clear what her martyr-inspiring beliefs are: is it her political conviction for which she is prepared to the make the ultimate sacrifice, or as a witness to her religion? Or is it a religio-political conglomeration of both? If so, what is this doctrine of Islamic-conservatism or Conservative-Islam which may propel Baroness Warsi to meet Allah?
Yesterday, she made it known that opposing AV is now the highest calling of all Conservatives. So, presumably, it is hers. Is she prepared to die for that?
As loathsome as His Grace finds the prospect of perpetual coalition governments forged at the behest of whomever happens to be the leader of the Liberal Democrats, he certainly wouldn’t die for it.
And neither would he die to defend the ‘Big Society’, fiscal rectitude, welfare reform or the nationwide expansion of the academies programme. And, in another era, he wouldn’t have died to defend monetarism, free-market economics or a brutal programme of pit closures.
In fact, His Grace isn’t at all sure that he would die for any temporal political objective.
His faith, however, and the concept of religious liberty, are quite a different matter. And one wonders if it is the Baroness’s own religious beliefs to which she refers when she says she is prepared to die a martyr.
For sure, this ‘muscular liberal’ has bravely spoken out against Muslims who subjugate women; she has confronted ‘honour’ killings and forced marriage, and exposed widespread voter fraud within the Asian community which undermines our democracy and values.
If Baroness Warsi’s co-religionist extremists have issued a fatwa against her because of these beliefs, then they threaten us all. If they assassinate her, they murder us all. If they oppose her speaking out against these practices, they stand against our culture, traditions and the very foundations of our liberal democracy. Baroness Warsi is like a canary down the pit: if she is snuffed out, the spread of the lethal poison will be beyond any toxicologist, and its effects will far exceed those emitted by mild irritants like vaporised polonium.
May God protect her.