Every few days, I am told of some wonderful new ‘interfaith’ initiative on some campus led by some wonderful diverse potpourri of students. I am told that these efforts will reduce tensions between different religious communities and that if we all understood each other more there would a greater chance of peace, harmony and prosperity. I am also told that anyone who does not support ‘interfaith dialogue’ is part of the problem rather than the solution.
I am not part of the problem, and interfaith dialogue is not part of the solution. I despair at the obsession with ‘interfaith’ activities. The notion has become so unquestioningly engrained into the (mostly) well-intentioned agendas of student organisations and Government initiatives, that to question its efficacy results in accusations of heartless apostasy. The adherence to interfaith dialogue is now so ubiquitous that the entire concept has transformed into a single word – ‘interfaith’.
I am one such interfaith apostate. I firmly believe that this new co-operative religion is deeply self-destructive for three reasons. To understand the first, one must first know that interfaith on campuses is a direct response to hate speech and radicalism, in particular the threat of Islamism. However, interfaith places everybody on the same level – we are putatively all to blame for the radicalism that plagues our campuses because of a collective failure to understand each other. This is obviously nonsense. No Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Sikh or Baha’i student societies are inviting speakers who legitimise rape or call for the murder of homosexuals. Islamist-hijacked Islamic societies do exactly this.
I am not so flippant as to suggest that this moral relativism is the absolute intention of interfaith adherents, but it certainly is the consequence. Understanding Islam to a greater degree will not stop the Islamists’ attempts to murder hundreds of innocent people in the skies above the Atlantic Ocean. If it actually did, it would infer something far more sinister about our prospects.
Likewise, I doubt a radicalised young Muslim would suddenly stop calling for the murder of homosexuals and Jews just because he swapped hummus recipes at a kosher-halal get-together. The emotive irrationality of Islamist ideology transcends mankind’s basic, logical desire to get on peacefully. If we are to bring harmony to civil society, we must fight the very source of radicalism, rather than obliviously paint happy pictures of our desired rainbow nation nearby.
We don’t need to understand Islam; we need to understand Islamism, and then together – as Muslims, Jews and Christians from across the political spectrum – we need to fight it. A disturbing corollary of Interfaith is the effect upon the moderate majority of Muslim students who steer well clear of the Islamist-hijacked Islamic student societies. Interfaith encourages the notion that Islamic Societies are the sole representatives of Muslim students, a conviction that consequently legitimises the Islamist hold of Islamic societies and isolates the moderate students who are actually brave enough to stand up to the extremists.
The second reason is that interfaith dialogue is employed by some of the Jewish community in the UK to justify doing little else to fight Islamism, anti-Semitism and the demonisation of Israel.
While ‘Apartheid Weeks’ and ‘Boycott’ days incessantly attack the Jewish state, and Jewish activists have chunks of flesh bitten out of their cheek, the only real, persistent, centralised response from Jewish Societies is interfaith. There are exceptions of course, but these are rare. In general, the moral turpitudes that manifest from the Islamists on university campuses are ignored for the preferred choice of feckless cultural entertainment.
I wonder if the three chairmen of Islamic Societies from the University of London who were arrested for terror offences would have thought differently if they had only tried that chicken soup provided by the Jewish Society gratis?
Interfaith is the knee-jerk response. Where are the pro-Israel events? Where are the invitations for moderate Muslim speakers to condemn all extremism on campuses? Where are the tens of thousands of leaflets, student newspaper articles, debates and lectures condemning the Islamist rhetoric of hate? All of this has been supplanted by the trepidation and appeasement of interfaith and the adherence to its absolutism.
Finally, one of the groups that appreciates the value of interfaith the most is the Islamists themselves. Interfaith is the perfect ‘do-good’ agenda with which to legitimise their reputation and obfuscate their genuine intentions.
In a piece for the Propagandist, I wrote of Fahad Ansari, an activist for the Amnesty-supported CagePrisoners organisation, who supports Taliban attacks on British soldiers:
“It is absolutely wicked for Ansari to weep tears for the human rights of those radicalized British extremists who are murdering Afghan schoolgirls for daring to go to school.”
Interfaith, much like the human rights agenda, is the perfect endorsement for an Islamist organisation. A few years ago, Paul Goodman MP raised questions in Parliament about Government funding for ‘Campusalam’ – the interfaith project of the Lokahi foundation, which has received just under half a million pounds of taxpayers’ money.
The Lokahi Foundation is influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Cordoba Foundation. Lokahi also has Tariq Ramadan on its advisory board, the grandson of Egyptian Islamist al-Banna, and one of the most well known European Islamists. He has been often accused of promoting anti-Semitism and fundamentalism, albeit fairly subtly.
Lokahi’s Director, Professor Gwen Griffith-Dickson, has complained that under present policy:
“‘Sufi’ groups are the ones who enjoy the rights of the first born while the ‘Islamists’ are thrown out without an inheritance.”
For the Lokahi Foundation, it was really was that simple: set up an interfaith project and receive half a million pounds of funding.
Note how similar all of this is to the terror group Hamas’ social system of da’wah: Hamas sets up schools, hospitals, orphanages, community centres and provides charity money to victims of violence, which allows them to extort vast quantities of cash from their own people and foreign Governments for their ‘charitable’ work. That money is used to murder both Palestinians and Israelis.
Just as decent, civilised persons completely abhor human rights abuses, we also all desire harmony between different religions and cultures. It is insulting to suggest otherwise, but that is exactly what interfaith implies.
In his book ‘State Beyond the Pale’, Robin Shepherd writes that Europe has become too pacifistic and hyper-legalistic, and that while we consume liberalism, we are too fearful to proactively defend it. ‘Interfaith’ is a manifestation of this European sickness.
If it is ‘us’ versus ‘them’, then ‘we’ are indisputably people from a large range of religious or nonreligious backgrounds; while ‘they’ are the hate speakers, the ideologues and the violent terrorists who despise us and our Western freedoms. After all, interfaith is completely superfluous when one considers that Islamists view us all as one decadent, recreant entity – an entity that includes the moderate majority of Muslim students.
We don’t need to understand each other; we need to understand the common threat of Islamism. At present, ‘interfaith dialogue’ examines what is wrong with us, while completely failing to articulate what is wrong with them.
Sam Westrop is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist