West should not fear facing “radical” Islam: Blair

West should not fear facing “radical” Islam: Blair

From AFP, Berlin:

British Prime Minister Tony Blair says a decade in office has taught him that the West should not be afraid of standing by its values in facing up to radical Islam.“The West must show that it believes in its own values,” Blair told journalists from several European newspapers, including yesterday’s edition of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Germany, as he prepares to announce his departure from Downing Street.

“We must show the Muslim world that we let our values apply to everyone. That’s why Guantanamo (Bay) is an issue for people,” Blair said, in comments translated from German.

“But we are also on the defensive because we are not energetic in contradicting the opinion of radical Muslims who want to convince us that terrorism somehow has something to do with our behaviour.”

Blair has long been in favour of binding predominantly Muslim Turkey to the European Union to create a bridge between Europe and the Muslim world. He conceded that Turkey has a long way to go before it is ready to join the EU, but said it would be a “disgrace” if Europe’s club of nations went back on its promises to the Turks.

“I firmly believe that Europe should offer a place to Turkey. But I also know that beforehand complicated problems must be resolved.”

“Most importantly,” the Prime Minister continued, “is the fundamental hostility at the heart of Islam toward the non-Mulsim world. Until this fact is appreciated, sound policy with respect to Islam will be impossible. We must understand – however uncomfortable the truth may be – that Islam presents an existential threat to Western civilization that cannot be mitigated or negotiated away. We are in a struggle for our lives that can only be won through great sacrifice and hardship and the jettisoning of many widely-held but misleading conceptions of the world. As I prepare to leave office, I say to my fellow countrymen and to all those in the West who cherish their heritage, the time to stand up and be counted is now. We are called today to the banner of our forbears who defended the European heritage against centuries of Muslim attack. With the help of Almighty God, we shall make them proud!”

Oh, wait. He didn’t say that last bit.

Radical Islam vs. Civilization

Jihad U

Jihad U
By Patrick Poole
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 14, 2007

From the East Coast through the American Heartland to the West Coast, a rapidly growing and extremely popular Islamic studies program is bringing Wahhabi extremism and Muslim Brotherhood activism into mosques and Muslim student groups throughout
North America. The Al-Maghrib Institute features motivational-style speakers, aggressive marketing, savvy use of the Internet and slick multi-media presentations as part of their for-college-credit courses leading to an Islamic Studies degree offered at mosques in at least thirteen cities


College Park, Maryland

Fairfax, Virginia

Houston, Texas

New Brunswick, New Jersey

San Francisco
Bay area,

California

Seattle, Washington

Memphis, Tennessee

Sacramento, California

Detroit, Michigan/

Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Chicago, Illinois

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Toronto, Quebec, Canada

Al-Maghrib also ran onsite seminars in
Columbus, Ohio during 2006. In addition to the courses they offer, the Institute sponsors a site selling Al-Maghrib audio and video course lectures, EmanRush Audio, and Khutbah.com, which provides texts of sermons and articles delivered by Al-Maghrib instructors and staff.

 

The staple of Al-Maghrib’s course offerings are the double weekend seminars held at their permanent sites. Locations of upcoming seminars, including one held this past weekend in
Atlanta, are provided on the Al-Maghrib website. In addition, the Al-Maghrib instructors are in high demand as motivational speakers at Muslim organization events all over the world. The Institute is also active amongst the 150 chapters of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) located at universities all over the
US and
Canada. The MSA is one of the front groups operated by the international Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Maghrib staff are also regular fixtures on several Islamic satellite television networks.

 

The organization’s Wahhabi-influenced extremism, rabid anti-Semitism and Holocaust denials, and militaristic preaching of jihad even have other Muslims expressing concern about the radicalizing effect of Al-Maghrib’s preaching and programs.

 

Al-Maghrib’s educational courses are accredited by the American Open University, which in turn is accredited by

Al-Ahzar
University in
Cairo – the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest and largest radical Islamic organization in the world. The courses offered by Al-Mahgrib count only as course credit for the AOU’s Bachelors in Islamic Studies degree, the only English language program offered by AOU.

 

A review of the course summary for the Islamic Studies degree program shows that the reading is dominated by Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabi theologians and theorists. In particular, the AOU program requires reading of Sayyid Qutb’s, In the Shade of the Quran, the text for AOU’s 113 Analytic Tafseer I course. Qutb, the leading Muslim Brotherhood thinker executed by Nasser in the 1960s after an assassination attempt, has been described as “Bin Laden’s Brain” due to the extensive influence Qutb has had in justifying terrorism and jihad and laying down the theoretical principles that al-Qaeda was built upon.

 

Another Muslim Brotherhood theorist prominent in the curriculum is Sayyid Sabiq, who wrote his book, Fiqh-us-Sunnah, at the request of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. The two volumes of Sabiq’s work are the sole text for AOU’s 141 Fiqh of Worship I course. In the majority of AOU’s required reading for their Islamic Studies program, which Al-Maghrib offers course credit for, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and those influenced and approved by the Brotherhood figure prominently. 

Bilal Phillips is another name that appears repeatedly on AOU’s and Al-Maghrib’s reading lists. Phillips has recently gained notoriety as one of the radical preachers secretly videotaped as part of the Undercover Mosque investigative program aired last month on England’s Channel 4 (Robert Spencer reviewed this program for FrontPage in his article, Islamic Prejudice, Islamic Denial).

 

In the Undercover Mosque program, Bilal Phillips was videotaped explaining during a lecture the acceptability of forced Islamic marriages for prepubescent girls:

 

The Prophet Mohammed practically outlined the rules regarding marriage prior to puberty, with his practice he clarified what is permissible and that is why we shouldn’t have any issues about an older man marrying a younger woman, which is looked down upon by this society today, but we know that Prophet Mohammed practiced it, it wasn’t abuse or exploitation, it was marriage. 

After the Undercover Mosque program aired, it was severly attacked by Al-Maghrib instructor Yasir Qadhi, who launched into a 15 minute tirade defending the extremist speakers secretly videotaped by Channel 4 at the beginning of his regular Islami Q&A program on the Islam Channel satellite network. After Qadhi’s video defense aired, Bilal Phillips himself followed his friend’s lead and also aired a defense on YouTube. 

But the Muslim Brotherhood influence is not the only troubling aspect to Al-Maghrib’s programs and message. In fact, all six of Al-Maghrib’s instructors have degrees from Saudi institutions controlled by the extremist Wahhabi sect:

 

  • Muhammad Alshreef, the founder of Al-Maghrib Institute and a Canadian citizen, graduated from the Islamic University of Medina in 1999 with a degree in shari’a. The

    University of
    Medina was founded in 1961 by the ruling Saud family specifically for the propagation of Wahhabism worldwide.

  • Yasir Birjas, a Palestinian, graduated from the Islamic University of Media as the 1996 class valedictorian. He subsequently worked for a “relief charity” in
    Bosnia.
  • AbdulBary Yahya and Yasir Qadhi both obtained degrees from the Islamic University of Medina.
  • Mohammed Faqih obtained his initial degree from the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences (IIAS) in
    Fairfax, VA, and then graduated from the

    King
    Abdulaziz
    University in
    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden’s alma mater and haven for Muslim Brotherhood teachers who fled persecution from the
    Nasser regime in
    Egypt during the 1950s and 1960s. Sayyid Qutb’s brother, Mohammed, was a long-time instructor in Jeddah and was one of bin Laden’s primary mentors, as was Abdullah Azzam, the founder of Al-Qaeda. The IIAS was operated by Saudi diplomats as a branch of the Saudi Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University until it came under pressure from the US government when the diplomatic visas of 16 school’s instructors were withdrawn by the US, according to a report in the Washington Post; after the Saudis withdrew their support in 2004, the Institute was closed and searched by the US government for its links to terrorism.

  • Waleed Basyouni attended the Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in the Saudi capital of
    Riyadh, the academic heart of Wahhabi Islam, where he obtained a Bachelors and a Masters Degree. According to Basyouni’s DiscovertheNetwork.org profile, he studied under Sheikh Abdelaziz bin Baz, who author Gilles Kepel identifies as “the principal Wahhabite ideologist” in his book, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (p. 210).

 

Al-Maghrib instructors have come under severe public criticism by other Muslims for attacking and declaring heretic other mainstream Sunni scholars who do not hold to the Wahhabi version of Islam preached by the organization’s speakers. In fact, in 2006 a boycott of Al-Maghrib’s was called for when Yasir Qadhi declared a recently-deceased and universally revered Islamic scholar, Sheikh Alawi al-Maliki, a polytheist on one of Al-Maghrib’s online forums:

 

While it is the general policy of Al Maghrib not to quote individuals, I make exceptions in certain cases – this being one of them. Alawi al-Maliki is one of the most revered of modern Sufi personas – to speak evil of him is tantamount to apostasy in the eyes of many of his followers. For them, he is the leader of the awliya of Allah. Yet, it is no exaggeration to state that he was one of the most active proponents in our times of blatant acts of shirk (polytheism-ed.). . . 

All Islamic traditions identify “shirk” as the gravest offense possible, and therefore, making Qadhi’s pronouncement a de facto condemnation to Hell for al-Maliki. But as soon as the boycott was called for, however, Qadhi’s post was removed from the Al-Maghrib’s forum without any explanation or apology.

 

The curriculum areas taught by Qadhi, particularly the Light of Guidance and Light upon Light courses, are dedicated to pronouncing as heretical the non-Wahhabi Sunni schools of theology, particularly the Sufi movement. These are some of the most popular seminars taught by the Institute; in fact, the Light of Guidance seminar was taught by Qadhi this past weekend in the
Atlanta area.
 

But the concern over Al-Maghrib’s teachings extend much further than their Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabi influences. Anti-Semitic diatribes and Holocaust denials are regular themes preached by Al-Maghrib’s instructors. Institute founder Muhammad Alshareef expressed his thoughts on Muslim-Jewish relations in an article he published entitled, “Why the Jews are Cursed” (curiously, this article is not available on Al-Maghrib’s Khutbah.com website). As noted by the Militant Islam Monitor, in Alshareef’s article he expounds on the anti-Semitic canard that the international media is owned and controlled by Jews, and thus, biased against Muslims:

 

When I was in high school, studying in journalism class, our teacher had placed on the wall a statement that I spent many days contemplating. It simply said, “Freedom of the press (speech) belongs to those that own the press!” Who owns the press? Well, you can believe me when I say that it is not the god fearing beloved of Allah.

 

The remainder of Alshareef’s article recites a litany of accusations against the Jewish faith, blaming them for a wide range of iniquities, including changing the words of Allah, making blasphemous statements, and murdering the Prophets. He concludes his essay by decreeing that Muslims should not ally with Jews, should not imitate them and proscribing Muslims from ever marrying Jews or Christians.

 

But Muhammad Alshareef holds no monopoly on anti-Semitism amongst the Al-Maghrib faculty. In a speech entitled “What Have You Done for the Deen of Allah”, Waleed Basyouni identifies the behavior of Jews during Muhammad’s era as the reason that Jews do not and cannot know Allah:

 

Seven years the prophet and his companions suffered from the Jew in
Medina. Seven years, the Jew try to destroy this, a new Muslims’ country. . . . They try everything. They try to kill him. . . . They try to make deals with the Kufar, so they could attack Muslims. They support the hypocrites. They start everything. Seven years, suffering from them. He went outside
Medina to one of the Jews’ city, full of money, full of farms, gold, foods. They went out from
Medina, they are poor.

 

In a September 2002 report published by FrontPage, the Saudi Institute and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies cited Mohammed Fiqih’s alma mater, the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Studies, as “the largest source of Saudi hate literature in the
Washington area.” The report also quotes Saudi Institute Director Ali al-Ahmed on the IISA’s enforcement of Wahhabi segregation of the sexes, including separate back door entrances for female students:
 

IIASA is beyond reform. It practices religious and gender apartheid. Female students are not allowed in the library except for four hours each week, when men are not around. Classes are segregated and women are taught through closed-circuit television. 

According to a May 2006 report by David Ouellette, in a detailed exposition of the Quran’s Surah Yusuf [complete audio mp3 file] by Alshareef’s colleague Yasir Qadhi, he draws from the anti-Semitic tract, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to explain that Jews are not racially Semitic, and therefore, do not have any right to make a claim on their Holy Land. Citing a book denying the Holocaust, he informs hearers that:

 

All of these Polish Jews which Hitler was supposedly trying to exterminate, that’s another point, by the way, Hitler never intended to mass-destroy the Jews. 

Holocaust denial seems to be a regular fascination for Qadhi. In December, Yasir Qadhi sent an email message to the AlifBaaTaa email list (Qadhi’s email subsequently has either been removed or is no longer available for public viewing; link is to Google cache) with a link to an article authored by Alexander Baron, one of the invited speakers to the recent Tehran Conference on the Holocaust hosted by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At this international Holocaust denial-fest, Baron presented a paper entitled, “The Nazi Gas Chambers: Rumours, Lies and Reality – One Researcher’s Views”. In his post, Qadhi offered no other comments about the article other than to provide the link, apparently in agreement with the content of Baron’s analysis.

 

The teaching of aggressive militaristic jihad is also a common theme in Al-Maghrib’s courses, which rely on commentaries by 13th Century theologian Ibn Taymiyyah and Wahhabi sect founder, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab. One seminar taught by Muhammad Alshareef is his review of the jihadist exploits and military campaigns of the first four “rightly guided” caliphs, Conquest: History of the Khulafaa’. The militaristic themes for this course are evident in the one minute video trailer for the seminar.

 

The triumphalist vision of Islam as the inevitable sole world power and the justification of militaristic conquests under the banner of jihad are also repeated in the Al-Maghrib course, Islam Invulnerable: The Making of the Modern Muslim World. Tracing the rise of Islam as a global power from the initial Islamic invasions and occupations of the Near East, North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, it glories in the triumphs of the Ottoman, Safavid, Qajar and Mughal Empires and provides its unique spin of the present Israeli (“Zionist”)-Arab conflict. The Crusades and European “imperialist” and “colonialist” efforts in recent centuries are denounced, while Islamic conquests undergo “narrative reinterpretation” to explain the difference between the two.

 

Al-Maghrib instructors also regular speak with other extremist preachers advocating for terrorism and violent jihad. In a FrontPage article last March, “The Visiting Jihadist”, Joe Kaufman revealed that Institute instructor Abdulbary Yahya was scheduled to speak at an event with Ibrahim Dremali, an advocate of suicide bombings and had led crowds in burning Israeli flags and chanting, “With jihad we’ll claim our land, Zionist blood will wet the sand.” The event was sponsored by the

University of
Central Florida’s Muslim Student Association and paid for with Student Government Association funds. Dremali and Yahya had previously shared the podium at the 2005 Texas Dawah Convention, which also featured Siraj Wahhaj, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993

World
Trade
Center bombings.

 

The connections between Al-Maghrib staff and terrorist supporters sometimes don’t lead far from home. In 2004, Muhammad Alshareef’s father, Helmy Elsherief, was detained in
Egypt and interrogated regarding his associations with known terrorists. As Alshareef explained in a personal appeal published on the Al-Maghrib online forum, Elsherief was held because of his pre-9/11 work with “charities” in Pakistan that are known to have been al-Qaeda front organizations. Elsherief was eventually released by Egyptian authorities.

 

In particular, Elsherief was an associate of Ahmed Said Khadr, a top al-Qaeda financier, the top al-Qaeda agent in
Canada, and a close personal associate of Osama bin Laden – a fact conveniently never mentioned by Alshareef in his personal appeals. After leaving
Canada, Khadr’s entire family, identified by Daniel Pipes as “Canada’s First Family of Terrorism”, lived with bin Laden in his
Kabul compound. Ahmed Khadr was killed in a firefight with Pakistani security forces in October 2003, which also injured and disabled his youngest son, Abdul. His second youngest son, Omar, is presently imprisoned as an enemy combatant at

Guantanamo
Bay after killing a
US medic with a hand grenade in 2002 during a battle in
Afghanistan.

 

The extremist messages preached by Al-Maghrib and their associates have also landed instructors themselves in trouble with US authorities. This past August, the Houston Chronicle reported that Yasir Qadhi complained during a public meeting at

Rice
University with government officials that he was on the Department of Homeland Security terrorist watch list and consequently is regularly detained when entering the country. In addition, according to an announcement issued by the Al-Maghrib Institute’s staff, instructor Yaser Birjas was arrested and detained by US authorities in 2005 due to problems with his immigration visa.

 

In the span of just a few short years, the Al-Maghrib Institute has quickly established itself as one of the premiere Islamic instructional programs in North America, as attested to by its 13 mosque-based affiliates and their regular appearances at Muslim Student Association events. Audio and video lecture series, an impressive Internet presence and regular satellite television programs by Al-Maghrib faculty extend their influence even further. Furthermore, the Institute’s instructors are in high demand as event speakers for Islamic organizations all over the world.

 

Al-Maghrib’s rapid rise should cause concern, however, as its Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood-inspired messages of religious extremism, racial bigotry and advocacy of jihad and militancy are being spread like cancer in Muslim communities throughout the US and Canada. And this ideological cancer spread by the Al-Maghrib Institute potentially threatens Muslims and non-Muslims alike as its popularity and radicalism continues to increase.

Radical Islam vs. Civilization

Radical Islam vs. Civilization
By Daniel Pipes
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 1, 2007

Text of a talk presented by Daniel Pipes on January 20, 2007, in London in a debate with the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, as transcribed by the 910 Group with the help of others. The original posting of the video can be seen at YouTube; for a single clip version, see the posting at the Global Defense Group. For accounts of the debate, see the bibliography at “My Debate with London Mayor Ken Livingstone.”

Thank you so much. I’d like to begin by thanking Mayor Livingstone for his kind invitation to join you today and I thank the Greater London Authority for the hard work it put into what is obviously a successful event. I am delighted by the interest that you, the audience, has shown. And I’m grateful to my supporters who have come from four different countries to be with me today.

The Mayor is an optimistic man. I’m generally invited to bring along some gloom, and I will, true to form, provide some for you. [audience laughter]

Let me start with my position on the question of world civilization or clash of civilizations. One: I am for world civilization, and I reject the ‘clash of civilization’ argument. Two: The problem is not so much a clash of civilizations, but a clash of civilization and barbarism.

I’d like to begin by looking at Samuel Huntington’s idea. He argued that cultural differences, in his 1993 article, are paramount. “The fundamental source of conflict … will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural.” And in all he finds seven or eight set civilizations, namely, “Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American and possibly African.”

My response is that civilization is useful as a cultural concept but not as a political one. There are three problems with seeing civilizations as actors in the way that Huntington suggests. It can’t account for tensions within a single civilization, it can’t account for agreement across civilizations, and it doesn’t account for change over time. Let me give you three quick examples. I’ll take them from the area that I have studied, which is the Muslim world.

First, it cannot account for Muslim-on-Muslim violence, of which there is a great deal: We have the civil war in Lebanon, the Iraq-Iran war, the Islamist insurgency in Algeria, the Sunnis vs. Shi‘is in Iraq at present, the near civil war in the Palestinian Authority, the Sudanese government against the people of Darfur. This cannot be accounted for in civilizational terms.

Second, it ignores the agreement across civilizations. I’d like to take a UK-based example, namely the edict of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 against Salman Rushdie, who at that time was living in London. It appeared, at first glance, to be a question of Muslims on one side and Westerners on the other. Muslims were burning The Satanic Verses novel, there was violence in India, etc. But a closer look showed that in fact it was quite something different, it was far more complex. There were plenty of Westerners who were against Rushdie and plenty of Muslims who supported him.

Let me give you just a couple of quotes. The foreign secretary of Britain at that time, Sir Geoffrey Howe, said “the British government, the British people do not have any affection for Rushdie’s book.” On the other hand, the Egyptian foreign minister said “Khomeini had no right to sentence Rushdie to death.” And another Egyptian minister said “Khomeini is a dog, no, that is too good for him, he is a pig.” [audience laughter]

Third point, Huntington in his analysis can’t account for change over time. And I can best illustrate this by giving you a quote from his 1993 article, He said “The economic issues between the United States and Europe are no less serious than those between the United States and Japan, but they do not have the same political salience and emotional intensity because the differences between American culture and European culture are so much less than those between American civilization and Japanese civilization.”

Well that was true enough in 1993, but it sounds pretty silly in 2007 where there are virtually no tensions between the United States and Japan and I’m sure you are aware there are tensions between the United States and Europe. The vituperation is far more severe across the Atlantic than the Pacific.

What Huntington did was to take an incident of the moment and turn them into something civilizational and it didn’t work. In short the clash of civilization idea fails, it does not fit the facts, it is not a good way to understand the world.

What about then a world civilization? Can it exist? If one defines it as Huntington does, as a culture, basically then, no, it can’t. As he puts it, correctly, “for the relevant future there will be no universal civilization but instead a world of different civilizations, each of which will have to learn to coexist with the others.” I don’t think there is anyone who would dispute that.

But yes, there can be a world civilization if one defines it differently. Civilization can be the opposite of barbarism. And civilization in this sense has a long history. In the Bible, there is a passage, “And ye shall… proclaim liberty throughout all the lands and unto all the inhabitants thereof.” In the Koran, “you are the best community ever raised among mankind, you advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and believe in God.” The American byword is ‘the pursuit of happiness’, the French is “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité “ Winston Churchill in 1898, writing about the Sudan, said that civilization is “sympathetic, merciful, tolerant, ready to discuss or argue, eager to avoid violence, to submit to law, to effect compromise.”

So the question is, can this state of being, of being civilized, can it exist on a world level?

It can, in so far as those who are civilized confront those who are not civilized. The world civilization exists of civilized elements in every culture banding together to protect ethics, liberty and mutual respect. The real clash is between them and the barbarians.

Now what do I mean by barbarians? I do not mean people who are of lower economic stature. What I mean by barbarians – and I think all of us mean by barbarians in the past two centuries – are ideological barbarians. This is what emerged in the French revolution in the late 18th century. And the great examples of ideological barbarism are fascism and Marxist Leninism – they, in their course of their histories have killed tens of millions of people.

But today it’s a third, a third totalitarian movement, a third barbarian movement, namely that of radical Islam. It is an extremist utopian version of Islam. I am not speaking of Islam the religion, I am speaking of a very unusual and modern reading of Islam. It has inflicted misery (as I mentioned Algeria and Darfur, before), there is suicide terrorism, tyrannical and brutal governments, there is the oppression of women, and non-Muslims.

It threatens the whole world:. Morocco, Turkey, Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, you name it, Afghanistan, Tunisia, and not just the traditional Muslim world, but also Russia, France, Sweden, and I dare say, the United Kingdom.

The great question of our time is how to prevent this movement, akin to fascism and communism, from growing stronger.

Now, I believe the mayor and I agree on the need to withstand this menace, but we disagree on the means of how to do it. He looks to multiculturalism, and I to winning the war. He wants everyone to get along; I want to defeat a terrible enemy.

The mayor defines multiculturalism as “the right to pursue different cultural values subject only to the restriction that they should not interfere with the similar right for others.” And he argues, as you just heard, that it works, that London is a successful city. I won’t dispute his specifics, but I do see the multicultural impulse creating disaster by ignoring a dangerous and growing presence of radical Islam in London.

One evocative sign of this danger is that citizens in your country have become a threat for the rest of the world. In 2003, Home Secretary David Blunkett presented a dossier to a Special Immigration Appeals Commission in which he “admits that Britain was a safe haven for supporters of worldwide terrorism” and in which he said Britain remains a “significant base’” for supporting terrorism.

Indeed, British-based terrorists have carried out operations in at least fifteen countries. Going from east to west, they include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Algeria, Morocco, Russia, France, Spain, and the United States. I’ll give you one example, from the United States: it was Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, who I am primarily thinking of, but there is also the [End of clip #3; Start of clip #4] British involvement in 9/11 and in the Millennium Plot that did not take place in Los Angeles.

In frustration, Egypt’s President Husni Mubarak publicly denounced the UK for “protecting killers.” After the August 10th thwarted Heathrow airline mega-plot, of a few months ago, two American authors argued in The New Republic, that from an American point of view, “it can now be argued that the biggest threat to U.S. security emanates not from Iran or Iraq or Afghanistan—but rather from Great Britain.”

And I believe this is the tip of the iceberg. I believe it refutes Mr. Livingstone’s opposing view – that there isn’t a problem.  This is the problem, the problem is radical Islam, also known as fundamentalist Islam, political Islam, Islamism. It is not, again, Islam the religion, it is radical Islam, the ideology.

Let us focus on three aspects of it. The essence of radical Islam is the complete adherence to the Shari’a, to the law of Islam. And it is extending the Shari‘a into areas that never existed before.

Second, it is based very deeply on a clash of civilizations ideology. It divides the world into two parts, the moral and the immoral, the good and the bad. Here is one quote from a British-based Islamist by the name of Abdullah el-Faisal, who was convicted and is now in jail. “There are two religions in the world today – the right one and the wrong one. Islam versus the rest of the world.” You don’t get a more basic clash-of-civilization orientation than that. There is a hatred of the outside world, of the non-Muslim world, and the West in particular. There is the intent to reject as much as possible of outside influence.

The third feature is that this is totalitarian in nature. It turns Islam from a personal faith into an ideology, into an ism. It is the transformation of a personal faith into a system for ordering power and wealth. Radical Islam derives from Islam but is an anti-modern, millenarian, misanthropic, misogynist, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, triumphalist, jihadistic, terroristic, and suicidal version of it. It is Islamic-flavored totalitarianism.

Like fascism and communism, radical Islam is a compelling way of seeing the world in a way that can absorb an intelligent person – to show him or her a whole new way of seeing life. It is radically utopian and takes the mundane qualities of everyday life and turns them into something grand and glistening.

There is an attempt to take over states. There is the use of the state for coercive purposes, and an attempt to dominate all of life, every aspect of it. It is an aggression against neighbors, and finally it is a cosmic confrontation with the West. As Tony Blair put it in August of 2006, “We are fighting a war, but not just against terrorism but about how the world should govern itself in the early 21st century, about global values.”

Now how does one respond to this?

The mayor is a man of the Left, and I am a classical liberal. We can agree that neither of us personally wishes to be subjected to the Shari‘a. I will assume, you [looking at Ken Livingstone] will correct me if I am wrong [short sporadic applause] that neither of us want this as part of our personal life.

But our views diverge sharply as to how to respond to this phenomenon. Those of my political outlook are alarmed by Islamism’s advances in the West.  Much of the Left approaches the topic in a far more relaxed fashion.

Why this difference? Why generally is the right alarmed, and the left much more sanguine? There are many differences, there are many reasons, but I’d like to focus on two.

One is a sense of shared opponents between the Islamists and those on the left. George Galloway explained in 2005, “the progressive movement around the world and the Muslims have the same enemies,” which he then went on to indicate were Israel, the United States, and Great Britain.

And if you listen to the words that are spoken about, say the United States, you can see that this is in fact the case.  Howard Pinter has described America as “a country run by a bunch of criminal lunatics.” [big applause and shouts] And Osama Bin Laden [stops … ] I’ll do what I can to get an applause line. [laughter] And, get ready for this one: Osama Bin Laden called the United States, “unjust, criminal, and tyrannical.” [applause]

Noam Chomsky termed America “a leading terrorist state”. And Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a leading Pakistani political leader, called it the “biggest terrorist state.” [scattered applause]

Such common ground makes it tempting for those on the Left to make common cause with Islamists, and the symbol of this would be the [huge, anti-war in Iraq] demonstrations in Hyde Park, on the 16th of February 2003, called by a coalition of leftist and Islamist organizations.

At other times, the Left feels a kinship with Islamist attacks on the West, forgiving, understanding why these would happen. A couple of notorious quotes make this point. The German composer, Karlheinz Stockhausen termed the 9/11 attacks “the greatest work of art for the whole cosmos,” while American novelist Norman Mailer, commented that “the people who did this were brilliant.”

Such attitudes tempt the Left not to take seriously the Islamist threat to the West.  With John Kerry, a former aspirant to the [U.S.] presidency, they dismiss terrorism as a mere “nuisance.”

That is one reason; the bonds between the two camps. The second is that on the Left one finds a tendency to focus on terrorism – not on Islamism, not on radical Islam. Terrorism is blamed on such problems as Western colonialism of the past century, Western “neo-imperialism” of the present day, Western policies—particularly in places like Iraq and the Palestinian Authority – or from unemployment, poverty, desperation.

I would contend that it actually results in an aggressive ideology. I respect the role of ideas, and I believe that not to respect, to dismiss them, to pay them no attention, is to patronize, and to possibly even to be racist.  There is no way to appease this ideology. It is serious, there is no amount of money that can solve it, there is no change of foreign policy that make it can go away.

I would argue to you, ladies and gentlemen, it must be fought and must be defeated as in 1945 and 1991, [applause] as the German and the Soviet threats were defeated. Our goal must be, in this case, the emergence of Islam that is modern, moderate, democratic, humane, liberal, and good neighborly and that it is respectful of women, homosexuals, atheists, whoever else – one that grants non-Muslims equal rights with Muslims.

In conclusion, Mr. Mayor, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, on the Left or on the Right, I think you will agree with me on the importance of working together to attain such an Islam. I suggest that this can be achieved not via the get-along multiculturalism that you propose, but by standing firm with our civilized allies around the globe, especially with liberal voices in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with Iranian dissidents, and with reformers in Afghanistan.

I also propose standing with their counterparts in the west, with such individuals as Ayaan Hirsi Ali [applause], … formerly a Dutch legislator and now in exile in the United States; with Irshad Manji, the Canadian author; [applause] with Wafa Sultan, the Syrian in exile in the United States who made her phenomenal appearance on Al-Jazeera. Individuals like Magdi Allam, an Egyptian who is now a leading Italian journalist; Naser Khader, a parliamentarian in Denmark; Salim Mansur, a professor and author in Canada, and Irfan Al-Alawi, here in Britain. [applause]

Conversely, if we do not stand with these individuals, but instead if we stand with those who would torment them, with the Islamists, with, I might say, someone like Yusuf al- Qaradawi [applause] we are then standing with those who justify suicide bombings, who defend the most oppressive forms of Islamic practice, who espouse the clash of civilizations [notion that] we ourselves reject.

To the extent that we all work together, against the barbarism of radical Islam, a world civilization does indeed exist – one that transcends skin colour, poverty, geography, politics, and religion.

I hope that you and I Mr. Mayor can agree here and now to cooperate on such a program.