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Published on June 7th, 2013 | by Jack Cowell
Image © US Government. 2010


Woolwich and the Young Liberal Intellegentsia

The backlash of vague cosmopolitanism spewing out on Facebook and Twitter following the absolutely horrifying and sadistic murder of a British soldier in Woolwich was almost inevitable. A great deal of young people seem to wish to distinguish themselves from their peers as part of some sort of liberal intelligentsia. “Generalizing from specific cases”, “propagating a stereotype to which someone or other implicitly subscribes”, “engendering hatred through otherisation and alienation” are just some of the examples of nonsense regurgitations which appeared on the internet like some sort of plague. These centered around the misunderstood concepts of integration, immigration and liberal cosmopolitanism (where universal human rights make borders unnecessary and the notion of global citizenship rules supreme) appeared on the internet like some sort of plague.

First of all, the worst of the worst; “well your car is Japanese, your speakers are made in India, how can you be against unimpeded immigration?!”. I shouldn’t even have to say how ridiculous this is, but it seems some people need reminding that people are not microwaves. The reason why immigration is an issue in societies and Japanese car imports are not is because I have never really been required to “get on” with my car. I have never had to deal with a moral issue such as schooling with my car, nor have I ever socially interacted with my iPod. My speakers very rarely judge me nor do they propagate hate-filled views or commit acts of violence in the name of global market liberalisation.

Second of all, the people who think that adopting a completely reactionary and rejectionary stance towards anti-immigration movements is some kind of intellectually enlightened position. These are actually worse than the first. The internet practically collapsed under the weight of college students vindicating their own notion of self-worth by vomiting up common sense wrapped up in the language of reactionary liberalism. University students also partook in this reciprocal back-patting amongst the enlightened ones. “You can’t generalise from one instance to the many”. I don’t remember seeing a single instance of this generalisation to the wider Muslim community from anyone who is in the least bit reasonable. Generalisation was assumed by these people. In fact it was eagerly anticipated by these people, because their superiority to idiot racists is what justifies their place as the intelligentsia of their little community. If you want the real fascists, the real racist scum bags to stop being a problem, it’s simple: just ignore them! People who hold childlike views should be treated as children throwing a tantrum; attention will only encourage their behaviour. Yet so too should we judge people who seem to get off from belittling bigoted people as exacerbating the problem for the benefit of their own egoistic machinations.

People who are so averse to reasoning from a single instance to the many are often following that reasoning themselves. They will reject any talk of Muslim culture being where the problem lies before hearing what such a debate could offer in the way of genuine insight. No it is not Islam as a religion which is the problem. Even a brief glance at the nature of shari’a and political Islam at large will suffice to demonstrate this and anyone who says Islam is inherently violent has merely been lazy or selective in their reading. The religion is also more than ameliorable to democracy than many others, see the concept of shura for one example. Islam is a peaceful religion dedicated to respect, reason and righteousness. Yet, to reject out of hand the idea that it is elements of the Muslim population which are both the problem and it is the Muslim population where the solution lies, is simply stupid. Such a disregard for law and order and a fundamental disregard for human life amongst a tiny minority of a community means that government policy will have little effect given that this minority will view any policy directed towards them as both illegitimate and antagonistic. The solution lies in compelling the vast majority of Muslims to fight against radicalism amongst their youth themselves, to a much greater degree than they have been doing. The ulama have a huge amount of sway over the Shia young, and the religious education received in mosques has the potential to instill deep in the minds of the young, more pluralistic, integrationist concepts. The creation of a severe stigma amongst the Umma (Muslim community at large) against radicalism could go much further in combating extremism than any counter- terror policy the government could propose, like the disaster that is the Snooper’s Charter.

To ignore the fact that the beheading of a man on a London street in broad daylight came as a result of a distorted view of Islam infecting a section of the youth is to ignore reality. There is a systemic problem emerging at a grassroots level with a significant amount of young Muslim men. This is a problem coming from the Islamic community and it is one that must be dealt with by the Islamic community. The vast majority of Muslims were appalled by what occurred in Woolwich and the vast majority would be more than willing to co-operate with the government to rid their society of such corrupt elements.

Please note that all blog posts do not represent the views of Catch21 but only of the individual writers. We also aim to be factually accurate and balanced across all content taken as a whole.

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About the Author

Jack Cowell

Jack is from Liverpool and has a Politics degree from Sheffield University. He is mainly interested in domestic politics but also has a keen interest in Africa and Latin America. He also like Formula One, Everton FC, films and ska, reggae and metal music. He is currently spending his time working his way through Asia (the Continent, not the 1980's Prog Rock Band).

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