From the archives. Originally Posted: 24 June 08
About 20 years ago I spoke on “Marxism and religion” at the Socialist Workers Party Easter Rally in Skegness. I began, roughly, with the words, “Today, in Britain, religion—fortunately—is not a major political issue.” Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Today religion, or rather one religion in particular, namely Islam, is at the centre of political debate.
Scarcely a day passes without a news item raising the alarm about alleged “hate preaching” imams, or a mosque being taken over by “fundamentalists”, or an opinion piece about the deeply flawed nature of Islam, or a radio discussion about whether “moderate” Muslims are doing enough to combat “the extremists” and prevent Muslim youth from being “radicalised”, or a TV programme on the plight of Muslim women, or a scare story about some stupidity committed in the name of Islam somewhere in the world. As I start to write this article I see the following report in the Independent on Sunday:
Islamic extremism in Britain is creating communities which are “no-go areas” for non-Muslims, the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, warned yesterday. Bishop Nazir-Ali says non-Muslims face a hostile reception in places dominated by the ideology of Islamic radicals.