The problem with treating symptoms
The second report was also from Jihad Watch and dealt with the Chinese government cracking down on Muslims in its Eastern Xinjiang Province:~
China has banned burqas, veils and “abnormal” beards in a predominantly Muslim province in what it claims is a crackdown on religious extremism. The measures, which also force people to watch state television, follow decades of ethnic and religious discrimination against Xinjiang’s 10 million-strong ethic Uyghur population. New regulations, to come into force on Saturday, require government workers in airports, railway stations and other public places “dissuade” women who fully cover their faces and bodies from entering and report them to police. They also prohibit the “abnormal growing of beards and naming of children to exaggerate religious fervour”, without giving specifics. It will be forbidden to “reject or refuse radio, television and other public facilities and services”, marrying using religious rather than legal procedures and “using the name of Halal to meddle in the secular life of others”.
So on the one hand we have the flaccid Western authorities, unable or unwilling to grapple with the central issue of Muhammad & Sharia law - the authoritative teachings of orthodox Islam - in the face of an agitating and growing Muslim population. These authorities take particular care of even the hurt feelings of Muslims, especially after a Muslim has murdered innocent non-Muslims and it is the non-Muslims who should receive the care and reassurances.
On the other hand we have a repeat of what we are used to seeing in places like Egypt under Mubarak, Syria under Assad and Iraq under Saddam - the use of force by a strong state to suppress those who wish to fully follow Muhammad and implement classical Islam. Right down to not allowing people to name their babies Muhammad if the State thinks this is a sign of "religious fervour".
Which is best?
While a lot of people might say China is doing better in dealing with the reality of political Islam, there are colossal problems when a government takes upon itself the role of adjudicator of human conscience - the role of God. No government is able to take on such a role without depriving its subjects of the freedom we all crave. China is likely to merely suppress Islam and embitter its Muslims - and remember, many Muslims already feel set upon & victimised by non-Muslim regimes and Islam has core teachings on the place of violence in dealing with oppressors. These core doctrines of Islam have not been addressed and remain problematic.
We see a classic clash of these approaches with France's ban on the Burkhini. While at least they are trying to do something to help, this is to deal with externals only and even this fairly mild step is causing a lot of internal strife in a Western country that is used to the government keeping well out of certain spheres of public life. Banning long beards or face coverings is to treat a symptom not the disease of Islam's core religious teachings.
What to do?
PRESENT AN OPPORTUNITY AND STAND BACK
Well, old-fashioned public shaming has its place - we know this because Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reassured the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in 2011 that she would encourage such in dealing with anyone who criticised Islam in America. It would be silly to "shame" Muslims just for naming their kids Muhammad or covering their faces - all this is secondary, beside the point. However I would shame those Muslim leaders and organisations that do not immediately, unequivocally & publicly confirm that they will root out of all the organisations they are part of anyone who preaches Sharia law. All Muslim leaders will leap at this opportunity. They have to.
Who wouldn't quickly come out and denounce death for homosexuals or adulterers under any circumstances? No-one has coerced such a statement from these people, they themselves will willingly provide it as they are eager to tell us that we have nothing to fear from Islam and that it is perfectly compatible with Western standards (of course we hope they will all be genuine). All we're asking is for public confirmation that things such as Hudood punishments (stoning of adulterers, killing apostates, etc.) are wrong in any situation - this wording is important as we keep hearing phrases like "not at all appropriate for this country at this time" or "there is no call for this in our country and I can't see that there ever will be," such statements leave an out in that these practises may be promoted behind the scenes and eventually be implemented should demographic changes dictate a policy change from a new majority group. They will be eager to reassure us all but we must be careful to choose our words wisely.
However any Muslim leader who does not display a wholehearted devotion to simply following through on their own statements and acting on it will be held accountable, publicly shamed and if applicable, prosecuted. If, or when, as is sadly more likely, their actions fail to follow their words then let them be hoisted on their own petard. The government need do nothing more than highlight to the country the duplicity and hypocrisy of these leaders, and where applicable, prosecute (please don't try to introduce any "hate speech" laws, they're not required). Questions could include: "Do you reject hatred of Jews?"; "Do you renounce funding known terror organisations?"; "Will you treat adulterers and homosexuals as equals under New Zealand law?"
Some examples that might be publicly highlighted could include:
- "You said you were against the taking of child brides, why then did you invite Dr Bilal Phillips into the country who is a known proponent of this?" Or
- "You stated you are completely opposed to jihad, how is it that some of the fees you received for Halal certification of food has found its way into the coffers of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group which has been designated a terrorist organisation by the United Arab Emirates?" or again
- "You say that Antisemitism is unIslamic, how is it that Dr. Anwar Sahib, one of your top scholars has accused the Jews of using everyone for their own ends? What disciplinary action will you take against him and how will you spread this true teaching of love for Jews? We will come back to check."
After regular recurrences of such a scene the public will get the idea that some Muslim leaders cannot be trusted. The public will become informed, expectations will shift regarding all such leaders until it is no longer possible for them to merely pretend allegiance. Leaders will show themselves to either be genuine or false. Such an approach can't be seen as "Islamophobic" - it can be applied equally to all religions and I doubt any other religion will have any problems with it whatsoever (go ahead, ask us Anglicans, we won't be offended). Moreover this provides public support and cover for any Muslim leaders and reformers who see the need for modern Muslims to divest themselves of Islam's totalitarian and supremacist aspects.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Make it plain. Simply make it plain. Then let the chips fall where they may - the results are out of the government's hands, they are entirely up to the Muslim leaders. The government is merely being reasonable. Just make everything public and plain for all to see. Reality will take care of the rest and the government is not in any way smeared with the bigot label. Nor will all the followers of a religion be smeared. Just the opposite, all will be believed innocent until proven guilty as each corrupt leader will be deemed an aberration that requires removal. Should an increasing number of Islamic leaders show themselves dishonest the honest Muslims will be publicly endorsed, respected and encouraged to clean their own house of these people.
But it has to start with the government producing a public plan which is simply provided for Muslim leaders - and perhaps all other religious leaders - to publicly support. The rest will take care of itself, but it cannot work without the government's initiative.
However, if we do not pursue such a programme - which treats all people & religions as equal - we may soon find ourselves in a similar position experienced by the British in the years leading up to Dunkirk. Initially the problem was the Hitler Movement and National Socialism. But because these key issues were not dealt with courageously and vigorously by the government of the day - remember things weren't straightforward and included there being a lot of sympathy for the injustices of the Treaty of Versailles and an acknowledgment of the damage to German dignity just as there is sympathy for Muslim grievances today - we got to the point where we suffered a serious defeat and all eyes shifted from opposing merely the Nazi doctrine to "the Germans".
Differentiation between the Gestapo and members of the German public in the popular mind became hazy. Do we want the general public to start viewing all Muslims as ISIS? Of course not. Yet this kind of thing is beginning to happen now. That would severely curtail any chance of dialogue or any reform movement within Islam. Muslims then close ranks against a common enemy and non-Muslims would begin to believe that "the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim" (I already hear this kind of sentiment on the internet).
This is currently what Western governments are preoccupied with preventing yet they can only delay such feelings with current policies not provide resolution. Deal with the leadership's support for orthodox, core doctrinal issues or things will - more quickly than most could possibly expect - get out of hand and the perceived problem will then be "the Muslims". We can't let it happen. The government does have a role to play and this is it.
MAKE A BOLD CHOICE
We can't fix this by either mollycoddling Muslims & prosecuting people who are demonstrably upset about terror attacks or by cracking down hard on various external manifestations of orthodox Islam. You can only heal the situation by dealing openly, genuinely & honestly with one Muslim leader at a time, publicly.
As Robert Spencer says:
"Even if the Islamic State were defeated and eradicated, there are Muslims around the world, including [here], who share its worldview, motives, and goals. If the caliphate disappears, they will not. And if no one effectively challenges their beliefs, they will continue to wage jihad for decades to come."
What are you going to do New Zealand government?