by Gregory Buls
Western luminaries descended on Munich this weekend for the 47th annual Munich Security Conference. On Saturday, representatives from forty nations listened to what should be remembered as the first reasonably coherent defense of Western values by a Western leader in the age of modern Islamic terrorism. If his speech is taken to heart, U.K. leader David Cameron may have opened Pandora's Box -- and perhaps none too soon.
But we should acknowledge that this threat comes overwhelmingly from young men who follow a completely perverse and warped interpretation of Islam and who are prepared to blow themselves up and kill their fellow citizens.
At the furthest end are those who back terrorism to promote their ultimate goal: an entire Islamist realm, governed by an interpretation of Sharia.Move along the spectrum, and you find people who may reject violence, but who accept various parts of the extremist world-view including real hostility towards Western democracy and liberal values.
On the other hand, there are those on the soft left who also ignore this distinction. They lump all Muslims together, compiling a list of grievances and arguing if only governments addressed them, this terrorism would stop.
But let's not fool ourselves, these are just contributory factors. Even if we sorted out all these problems, there would still be this terrorism.
So first, instead of ignoring this extremist ideology, we -- as governments and societies -- have got to confront it, in all its forms. And second, instead of encouraging people to live apart, we need a clear sense of shared national identity, open to everyone.
But they also find it hard to identify with Britain too, because we have allowed the weakening of our collective identity. Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.
We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values.So when a white person holds objectionable views -- racism, for example -- we rightly condemn them. But when equally unacceptable views or practices have come from someone who isn't white, we've been too cautious, frankly even fearful, to stand up to them. The failure of some to confront the horrors of forced marriage, the practice where some young girls are bullied and sometimes taken abroad to marry someone they don't want to, is a case in point. This hands-off tolerance has only served to reinforce the sense that not enough is shared. All this leaves some young Muslims feeling rootless...In our communities, groups and organisations led by young, dynamic leaders promote separatism by encouraging Muslims to define themselves solely in terms of their religion. All these interactions engender a sense of community, a substitute for what the wider society has failed to supply. You might say: as long as they're not hurting anyone, what's the problem with all this? I'll tell you why.As evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by what some have called 'non-violent extremists' and then took those radical beliefs to the next level by embracing violence. And I say this is an indictment of our approach to these issues in the past.
Having identified some of the catalysts of violent Muslim extremism, Mr. Cameron then turned to solutions. Among the approaches he advocates are the following:
A passively tolerant society says to its citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It stands neutral between different values. A genuinely liberal country does much more. It believes in certain values and actively promotes them. Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Democracy. The rule of law. Equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality. It says to its citizens: this is what defines us as a society. To belong here is to believe in these things.
Here again Mr. Cameron goes out on a limb -- if you don't embrace these values, your way of thinking doesn't really belong in the West. The natural extension is that the individual does not belong in the West. But Mr. Cameron is not recommending widespread expulsion of ideological dissidents -- rather, he is saying that it is impossible to feel a part of Western society without respecting these beliefs. The alternative is mutual alienation.
David Cameron said more about Islam on Saturday, and he said it with greater insight, sensitivity, and realism than you'll find in virtually all of the platitudinous speeches on the subject delivered by all other Western leaders since 2001 combined. And he did so while defending our culture, our integrity, and our basic goodness. Pandora's Box is open -- the West may not be dessicated after all. People all over the world should take notice: A Western leader has finally emerged.
Original URL: http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/02/david_cameron_lifts_the_lid.html
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