15 MAY 2004, Page 35

Proper Muslims

From Stephen Schwartz Sir: Rod Liddle. in his dismissal of the serious concerns shared by many Muslims, as well as by Christians and Jews, about extreme Islamist advocacy in Britain ('How Islam has killed multiculturalism; 1 May), tossed off three grievously erroneous comments.

First, he identified Louis Farrakhan, the American raceand Jew-baiter, as 'a radical Muslim'. No serious Muslim considers Mr Farrakhan or any of his associates in the socalled Nation of Islam a co-religionist, radical or otherwise. Muslims believe that the Prophet Mohammed was the last prophet sent to humanity, and the Koran the last scripture so delivered. Mr Farrakhan believes and preaches that the scribblings of a certain Elijah Poole, who renamed himself Elijah Mohammed, represent a new, divine message delivered some 1,350 years later. To any real Muslim, this is a deeply offensive as well as heretical view.

The so-called Nation of Islam has more in common with freemasonry than with the faith of Mohammed, by way of a style of Masonic activity pursued in the United States by a group who call themselves Shriners and who wear red fezzes as their headgear. They are no more Muslims than he is. In addition, the doctrine of African racial supremacy advocated by Mr Far

rakhan is deeply abhorrent to real Muslims, as is the bar on entrance into his so-called 'mosques' to anybody but blacks.

Second, Mr Liddle asks 'What actually constitutes a "proper" Muslim?' The question is actually quite easily answered. A 'proper' Muslim is one who, following the religious and legal traditions of the vast majority of Muslims in the world, obeys the laws of any government that 'does not interfere with the call to prayer'; i.e., does not prevent Muslims from reading the Koran, praying, or teaching their religion. For this reason. 'proper' Muslims owe allegiance to the governments of Britain and the U.S., neither of which has prevented them from observing their faith.

The only Muslims who believe otherwise are extremists like Abu Hamza al-Masri, who in teaching sedition against British authority not only violates the above-mentioned principle of Islamic jurisprudence, but also violates the supreme principle of all Islamic law, which is to safeguard the security of the community. By preaching his radical doctrines, which are derived from the deviant views of the Wahabi sect and its imi

tators, he endangers the situation of every loyal, law-abiding Muslim in Britain. Deporting him would be a service to 'proper' Muslims as well as to the whole British population.

Thirdly, Mr Liddle states that 'even "properIslam demands a distinctly illiberal social regimen', citing as his example the uproar when Mr Ray Honeyford 'insisted that Muslim girls learn to swim'. Balkan, Turkish, Central Asian, Indian, and MalayoIndonesian Islam is no less 'proper' than Wahabism, and in fact is much more so from the perspective of traditional Muslims. It would come as a great surprise — and give great offence — to many women living in those societies to be told that because they do not cover their heads, or refrain from learning to swim, or deny themselves the right to wear whatever clothing they choose, they are not Muslims.

No normal society guarantees a right of sedition. Western democracies may indeed be compelled to end their long summertime of legal self-indulgence in the face of Islamist terror. The fault is that of the terrorists and those who support them, like the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, not of the Western democracies, which for half a century have far outshone their Christian predecessors in tolerance and acceptance of Muslims.

Stephen Schwartz

Washington, D.C.