Saturday, July 09, 2005

More Quotes

It is only when you start thinking about what we are not getting from Muslim leaders that you start to see how much needs doing. The moderates are not pressed hard for anything more than a general condemnation of the extremists … I understand and accept that there are many moderates among British Muslims but I want to know why Britain gets so pitifully little to show for their moderation … When a nation, a race, a political movement, a group of workers, the followers of a religion have legitimate grievances, there generally arises amongst them a champion who can command respect for his advocacy of peace, his willingness to fight without weapons and to win by moral authority. There may be many such grievances for Muslims in Britain, and in the West, but we are still waiting for the Gandhi or the Martin Luther King to give them the right voice. We all love it when the British people shrug their shoulders and move stoically on in the face of attack. It is a powerful national myth, and a true one. But it contains within it a great danger - a self-fulfilling belief that there is nothing to be done to avert future disaster.

Charles Moore in the UK’s Daily Telegraph, echoing my comment that Muslims throughout the world are not active enough in condemning terrorism committed in their name. But…

This time, the disgust of the Islamic organisations has been palpable and uncomplicated. In the past, Muslim spokesmen have sometimes felt the need to tack political observations on to their statements of condemnation. On Thursday, however, no one tried to make clever points about foreign policy. "This criminal act is condemned in the strongest possible terms", said the Muslim Council of Britain. The Muslim Association of Britain called the bombs "a callous crime which Islam and all human values disown". None of the Islamic organisations was so tasteless as to try to add a "but".

Leader comment in the same newspaper.


Here is Spain, there’s naturally huge empathy, as well as sympathy, for Britain. And there is widespread admiration for the lack of panic or hysteria and the absence of a slanging match between politicians. But it’s interesting to see how amazed commentators are that the British media refrained from showing pictures of blood, gore and body parts. There has been rather less restraint here. Indeed, one furious gentleman wrote to El Mundo to say Tony Blair had overnight lost the status of world statesman by censoring the media in preventing the publication of such pictures and issuing false casualty numbers for several hours. Well it’s a point of view but one, I imagine, which would find few supporters in the UK, where it would be seen as a legitimate part of crisis management. But, of course, the censorship of pictures didn’t happen; what the correspondent fails to understand is that the restraint is self-imposed via different cultural norms.

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