Friday, 2 September 2016

Hard Talk. Sarah Montague interviews Sara Khan


Interesting interview  by Sarah Montague, with Sara Khan, director and co-founder of Inspire,  who appears to have her head screwed on correctly.

But… she still claims that groups like ISIS are "hijacking" the religion, that Islam is benign, etc… These are, to say the least, contestable views — indeed they are arguably flat-out wrong wrong.

ISIS really is Islamic. Listen to Sam Harris talk about Dabiq, the ISIS glossy magazine. And Islam is not benign.  It's not Jainism, it's not Buddhism, it's not Mormonism or even Southern Baptist.  It's a warrior religion.  (There's also the carefully argued "What ISIS Really Wants", by Graeme Wood, in The Atlantic, March 2015)

When talking of allies for her efforts to promote a more moderate Islam in the UK, how could Sara (or Sarah) not mention Maajid Nawaz?  He's the really poster boy for moderating Islam.  He has death threats and horrid calumny for it.  He doesn't honey-coat the issues within Islam.  It's a real shame he wasn't mentioned.

Why are your Hard Talk interviewers not better read on Islam, so that can contest, and add to, points such as these?  After all, Islam(ism)-jihadism, really is a defining issue of our times.

Overall, though, it was great to see people like Sara Khan doing some heavy lifting to try to shift Islamist attitudes. There really is a huge problem with radicalising Muslim populations in the west, not just in the UK.  The more reforming Muslims the better.  

These are hard questions, but they're not made less hard by ignoring the hard truths about militarism within core-Islam, and claiming that Islam has been "hijacked".  No, it hasn't.  That's what it is.  That's the Hard Talk. And that's the talk that needs be had when we say what's needed is "an honest conversation"!

Peter Forsythe.
Discovery Bay
Hong Kong
9308 0799