"What is really unhelpful is the inherent contradiction in Blair's approach, shown up in his opinion piece and your interview, by which he recommends stronger secular democracy in countries riven with religious conflict at the same time as greater reverance for religion in the secular West. This is no way to win support from doubters from either culture"Two great pieces by Nick Cohen: on Assange followers' paranoid style and on the truly radical Muslims. The latter, entitled "Tales of Hope", refers to Maajid Nawaz and Alom Shaha. Nawaz returns in a Shiraz Socialist post, relaying a New Statesman debate between him and the awful Mehdi Hasan. One thing too trivial for Nawaz to call Hasan on is the following claim:
Forget Milne. Consider instead the verdict of Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden tracking unit and the author of three acclaimed books on al-Qaeda.I posted this when Hasan first quoted Scheuer:
He quotes as an authority one Michael Scheuer, Ron Paul's foreign policy adviser, who recently called for Osama bin Laden to nuke America ("The only chance we have as a country right now"). Here, Scheuer is returning a favour; Bin Laden once said ""If you want to understand what's going on and if you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing the war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer in this regard." Scheuer is also, unsurprisingly, part of the Walt and Mearsheimer "Israel Lobby" conspiracy theory fantast world:Read Adam Holland if you want to know why I call Scheuer a crypto-fascist.
GARY ROSEN: If you could just elaborate a little bit on the clandestine ways in which Israel and presumably Jews have managed to so control debate over this fundamental foreign policy question.
SCHEUER: Well, the clandestine aspect is that, clearly, the ability to influence the Congress—that’s a clandestine activity, a covert activity. You know to some extent, the idea that the Holocaust Museum here in our country is another great ability to somehow make people feel guilty about being the people who did the most to try to end the Holocaust. I find—I just find the whole debate in the United States unbearably restricted with the inability to factually discuss what goes on between our two countries.[source]
However, here's one thing I strongly agree with Hasan about:
Multiculturalism has little, if anything, to do with the rise of Islamist-inspired terrorism. Otherwise, how would you explain the presence of extremist groups inside monocultural societies such as Saudi Arabia or the Gaza Strip?
Remember: the 7 July bombers were, by any conventional definition, integrated into wider British society. None of the four spoke English as a second language; one of them was a convert to Islam. The ringleader, Mohammad Sidique Khan, once nicknamed “Sid”, was a teaching assistant who had refused to have an arranged marriage. Shazad Tanweer, the Aldgate bomber, was an avid cricketer who worked part-time in his father’s fish-and-chip shop. Their actions were horrific and unforgivable but their grievances were political, not cultural.I said something similar here.
From Islamism to "Islamophobia". Did I ever link to James Bloodworth's excellent attack on that word? Here it is. On the other hand, let's not forget that Daily Telegraph columnists are not an oppressed minority.