Comparing the violence in Northern Ireland to Islamic violence is fundamentally bankrupt as an intellectual pursuit, namely because Islamic violence is a religious exercise, whilst the IRA engaged in violence both out of sectarian interests, but more largely due to their other (and always violent) motivation... socialism.
Among Muslims in Britain, such ambiguities can also be found. There is a strong strand in the current state of Islam which sees the religion as a political project. This creed, often called "Islamism", holds that no society is legitimate unless it imposes sharia – the law of God. There is no doctrine of tolerance, and a complete rejection of secular or Christian rule. Islamism spreads much more widely than the active advocates of violence. I have tried to get the Muslim Council of Britain, a sort of TUC of British Islam, to condemn the murder or kidnapping of British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it has always avoided doing so.
Now why would the REFUSE to condemn the kidnapping of British troops... could it be the same reason why the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) refuses to condemn Hamas? Because deep down inside they support the actions... as Muslims, precisely because the actions follow from the canonical and exegetical texts?
So when, as happened on Question Time, people say that the Luton demonstrators "have nothing to do with Islam" and so should not be described as Muslims in the media, they are missing a key fact. So are the people who say that Irish republican killers should be called "common criminals". The key fact is that the extremists do draw on wider political or religious traditions in forming their views; and their actions do resonate among many from those traditions.
If, as in Germany this week, a deranged young man walks into a school and shoots people, it is tragic, but it is not part of a movement. Terrorism committed by Muslims in the name of Islam (which forms – that phrase again – the vast majority of terrorist acts in the world since September 11, 2001), or by Irish republicans, is.
Since the problem is quite wide, we need, as a nation, to defend ourselves against it. We are choosing the wrong way of doing so. We so doubt our own legitimacy that we feel the need to delegate the task to our foes. Our Government feels that the only way to run Northern Ireland is to hand nearly half of it to Sinn Fein.
Thanks Mr. Moore.