The “Lived Faith” of UK Muslims

(An account of a debate with Mr. Samuel Hooper)

I recently engaged in a debate with Mr Samuel Hooper, a blogger at The full debates can be seen in the Comments sections of the URLs given.

Before I describe the details of this debate, I wish to make it very clear that I salute Mr. Hooper’s writing in defence of free speech. I think that my freedom to make the points I make here is a very important test of that freedom.

The debate begins at this article:

The Daily Toast: After Paris, Andrew Neil’s Bravura Anti-Islamist Speech

I accused Mr. Hooper of dodging the truth by using the word “Islamist”, a word that also featured prominently in Mr. Neil’s pompous rant, that was the subject of the article. I quoted Koran 9:29. I also said that “Islamist” is a weasel word.

Mr. Hooper hit back at my accusation with these words:

“I am not dodging any truth, and I disagree with your effort to tar all Muslims (and an entire religion) with the same brush.”

“I use the term Islamist because it serves to distinguish between peaceful adherents of Islam and the more extremist fundamentalist sects (such as the jihadist salafism of ISIS).”

Note these words carefully: “your effort to tar all Muslims (and an entire religion) with the same brush”. Was I tarring all Muslims with a brush by quoting from the holy book that all Muslims say is the word of their god, Allah? Is it unreasonable to suggest that the followers of a religion believe in the words in their holy texts?? Surely Muslims are tarring themselves with that brush simply by calling themselves Muslims?

When Jesus said “Love thy neighbour”, is it unreasonable to tar all the Christians of the world with a suggestion that they might actually believe that we should love our neighbours? I can be forgiven for thinking that this was an emotive attempt to silence criticism of Islam by attempting to somehow shame me, and I do think that.

Perhaps Mr. Hooper was mainly responding to this statement that I had made:

“Islam is an ideology that promotes violence and intolerance. It is right to criticize its followers and try to persuade them to lose their religion.”

Could it be that he thinks it is wrong to suggest that Islam promotes violence and intolerance? Saying so does not in any way imply that all the followers of that religion are routinely engaging in such violence. Does he think we should not attempt to persuade the followers of a religion to lose their religion? It certainly is a very dangerous thing to do in the case of Islam, but does that mean we should not attempt to do it? I remain at a loss as to what he was implying by this statement.

He then made a most astonishing and grossly offensive statement:

“Failing to make this distinguish dishonours the memory of people like Asad Shah, murdered by *Islamists* for daring to set an example of how Muslims can peacefully coexist with and within the West.”

I had not even mentioned that gentleman, nor, even more importantly I did not anywhere suggest that Muslims can not peacefully co-exist with and within the West. Obviously millions of Muslims currently are doing just that! What a ridiculous claim to make, that I was dishonouring anybody by questioning Islamic beliefs. All the more ridiculous, given the fact that that gentleman was an Ahmadi Muslim, a member of a tiny persecuted sect that I also had not mentioned.

I responded by pointing out that the Ahmadi religious beliefs are very different from mainstream Islamic beliefs. I also questioned how he defined a peaceful adherent of the Islamic religion:

“How do you define a peaceful adherent? One who wants Sharia law? One who isn’t actually engaged in violent jihad at the moment? How do you know what they would do if their leaders told them it was time for jihad? You don’t.”

All that I was ACTUALLY implying through my comment was that there might be a connection between the actions of Muslim terrorists and their religion. Not an unreasonable statement given all the incitements to hatred and violence that exist in the Koran, and the warlike and intolerant example of Mohammed.  Its also not unreasonable given the fact they are telling us that they see such a connection.

This exchange was all the more curious given what Mr. Hooper had written in another article at his blog:

“When Is The Islamic State Not The Islamic State?”

When Is The Islamic State Not The Islamic State?

In this article, Mr. Hooper suggests that it is unreasonable to call the Islamic State anything other than the Islamic State. Well said Mr. Hooper, I agree with this entirely. Surely then its equally ridiculous to refer to a Muslim terrorist as anything other than a Muslim terrorist. A Muslim terrorist identifies himself as a Muslim, he believes his actions are correct according to his religion. Why refer to him as an “Islamist”? Unless of course, you are trying to avoid the reality that he is inspired by his religious beliefs….

Mr. Hooper did not respond to my reply on the article about Mr. Neil’s rant. I therefore decided to revive the debate by challenging him again on a different article. This article related to some tweets by one Matthew Doyle:

“No Prosecution For Matthew Doyle, But Free Speech Is Still Diminished”

No Prosecution For Matthew Doyle, But Free Speech Is Still Diminished

I began this exchange with a deliberately provocative challenge:

“Its become clear from a previous debate I had with Mr. Hooper that he not only sees no connection between bad deeds of individual Muslims and the Islamic religion, but he regards any suggestion of such a connection to be dishonouring to Muslims. He seems to elevate religious beliefs to a higher plane than other beliefs. ….”

He replied:

“Balderdash. I never said that there was no connection – merely that the fundamentalist literalist interpretation of many terrorists does not represent the lived faith of many peaceful Muslims. ….”

(A good word that, “Balderdash”, I must use that word more often :-).)

I proceeded to point out to him the findings of the Times newspaper which had revealed in 2007 that nearly half of the UK’s mosques were being run by the Deobandi movement, with a quote from wikipedia;

“about 600 of Britain’s nearly 1,500 mosques were under the control of “a hardline sect”, whose leading preacher loathed Western values, called on Muslims to “shed blood” for Allah and preached contempt for Jews, Christians and Hindus”

I also pointed out to him the results of a Pew Forum study:

“around 83% of Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh believe Sharia law should be the law of the land and of those around 76% of Pakistanis and 44% of Bangladeshis favour the death penalty for apostasy (many more will favour other punishments).”

I ended with this final thought:

“In any case, you simply are not in a position to make an assertion about what the ‘lived faith’ of most Muslims in the UK today is. To make such an assertion you would have to be able to get inside the heads of all the millions of individuals.

My position is that I take someone at their word. If they say they are a Muslim then I take it as read that they believe that the Koran is the word of Allah, and that Mohammed was his messenger and also the most perfect man who ever lived.

Considering that we would today liken such a career as his to that of a career criminal, then I take them at their word that they admire a career criminal as the most perfect man who ever lived. I have no doubt whatsoever that many living Muslims in the UK today (I simply cannot know HOW many) would feel entirely justified in killing me for making this statement, and I have little doubt that the number is large and significant.

I will not therefore feel completely safe until every Muslim (with the possible exception of the Ahmadis) has left the UK or denounced his religion. It is the fear that Islamic texts provoke, shared by many, that is eroding our freedoms, and you will not be successful in protecting our freedoms until you realize this. You may win the odd battle, but you will lose this ideological war.”

I will be exploring these questions in more depth in forthcoming posts.

4 thoughts on “The “Lived Faith” of UK Muslims

  1. Please DON’T use balderdash without first reading this blog:
    Then cop a feel ‘down below’, to check everything is in order, then ask yourself “do I still want to use that word?”
    (we use words like balderdash, they use words like hijrah, jihad, mujahideen, taharrush gamea)
    (we fret about transgender eduction for 7 years olds, they teach theirs the noble art of beheading)
    (god we are SO scre—!)


    Liked by 2 people

  2. “I will not therefore feel completely safe until every Muslim (with the possible exception of the Ahmadis) has left the UK or denounced his religion.”

    The problem with denunciation is the doctrine of taqiyya in which a Muslim is given a special dispensation to renounce Islam when in fear of persecution without damaging his standing within Islam.

    Given that, we’re left with deportation, unless…

    If Muslims were to make doctrinal changes in those areas which directly conflict with a peaceful assimilation into Western culture (sharia, jihad, women’s equality), and were those changes to be reinforced and taught by Imams, a strong case may then be made over the course of several generations that they may be allowed to immigrate to the West. Of course, were those doctrinal changes to be made, there would be no need to immigrate to the West as their home countries would then become tolerably functional.

    This is not without modern precedent; the Mormons were compelled to change an important doctrine of their religion in order to assimilate into the United States.


    • You make a good point about Taqiyya.

      However I think that without the emphatic focal point of large mosques, the religion would struggle very significantly. If enough people could be persuaded that the mosque is a symbol of an intolerant and immoral faith, then a climate might arise where it was possible to close down/demolish all the mosques in the West that are visible symbols of the Islamic faith. Of course we are a very long way away from such a climate today, but if we continue to get the true facts about the religion fully into the public arena, then this becomes a possibility. If such an idea seems hopeless, consider how far we have come already. A front-runner candidate for the US presidency, Donald Trump has called for a halt to all immigration from Muslim countries. Such an idea was never proposed even in the wake of 9/11.

      A second avenue is ostracism. In the grip of foolish “political correctness”, mindless laws have been invented which prevent employers from discriminating. Remove these laws, and employers would be free to discriminate against Muslim candidates. Employers who are currently encumbered by a requirement to provide prayer rooms at places of work, and to allow Muslim employees extra breaks for prayer, would no longer be forced to make such accommodations. Candidates with overtly religious dress could be refused a job in the first place as well.

      A third avenue is welfare reform. More than half UK Muslim males, and three quarters of UK Muslim females are unemployed. Without welfare benefits to support their segregated lifestyles, and in tandem with the second point, the growing Islamic influence could be reversed, because Muslims would be forced to seek employment in workplaces that discriminated against their religion, or leave the country.

      As far as deportation goes, I think that is a wildly impractical option, especially for the UK. Most of our Muslim immigrants are from very far away countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Even if their countries of origin agreed to accept them, the cost of returning many millions (3-10 million already and rapidly growing) would be astronomical. It would also lead to great injustice, because many Muslims would resort to Taqiyya, and simply pretend not to be Muslims. How would you distinguish between them and Christians/Atheists for example? I think the only sensible way is to encourage voluntary emigration by the 3 approaches above.

      I’m afraid I think that if you removed everything that is wrong with the Islamic religion there would simply be almost nothing of value left. If people want to follow a religion, and join a community, let them become Christians, Bahais or whatever. The religion is simply too focused around the career of Mohammed, and there is simply far too much wrong with that career to make it a worthwhile exercise, in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

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