Writing in The Independent, Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, author of A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilisation and How to Save It, responds to David Cameron’s attack on “state multiculturalism” which was made the day before the far-right English Defence League held a provocative protest in Luton.
Writing under the title ‘Diversity does not breed terrorists – politics does’ Ahmed laments Cameron’s “simplistic” understanding of the issues:
The background of those convicted on terrorism charges undermines his suggestion that there should be a crack-down on “non-violent extremists” – a category that could include anyone from climate protesters to student dissidents. Over a third of terrorism convictions between 1999 and 2009, and every single major terrorist plot in the UK including 7/7, were linked to the extremist network formerly known as al-Muhajiroun. Yet despite being proscribed, the network has never been fully investigated by police. Many of its leaders roam free despite a track record of inciting violence, while its spiritual leader, Omar Bakri Mohammed, was able to escape to Beirut despite confessing to having advanced warning of al-Qa’ida plans to bomb London.
Ahmed goes on to identify British foreign policy and the social exclusion disproportionately experienced by British Muslims as the real factors undermining social cohesion. He concludes:
As inequalities deepen under coalition cuts, social cohesion will be challenged. Meanwhile, his speech will be exploited by militant Muslims to back their claims that the state is the avowed enemy of Islam, and by far-right extremists to legitimise their hostility.
Rather than dealing with the root causes of terrorism, this just risks making things more volatile.
Visit The Independent to read the article in full.
And How to Save It
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
Argues that the many world crises, including the financial meltdown, climate change and terrorism, are connected problems of a failing global system.
“[Ahmed’s] arguments are in the main forceful and well-sourced, with particularly good sections on agribusiness, US policies of ‘energy security’, and what he terms the ‘securitisation’ of ordinary life by Western governments.” – Guardian
“How can a discussion of the all too familiar crises of our time be a hopeful book? By combining a microscopic dissection of the structure of each with a telescopic view of how they weave together in a whole system. If the myriad international conferences and programs haven’t worked, it isn’t that we have to try harder but that we have to confront the whole free of conventional constraints. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed confronts the whole.” – Richard Levins, John Rock Professor of Population Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University; author, Evolution in Changing Environments