(This is just a collecting post so far for material coming out of the ICM Poll reported on by Trevor Phillips. He will be broadcasting tomorrow, Wednesday, but so much has already been said, so many selective click-bait headlines, I wanted to capture a few inputs for some more considered writing afterwards. This is me thinking out loud for now.)
Black & White Morality? – Just yesterday, before picking-up the ICM Muslims Poll story, I picked-up on the article by Julian Baggini on how people like their morality to be simple, even though reality, in action, is inevitably more complex. (I started to add post-notes to that, now being brought forward here, and below.)
It’s Complicated? – Of course the just complicated enough reality has been a “memetic” theme of mine as long as I can remember, but I posted specifically on that quite recently.
The Pitfalls of Islamaphobia? – Douglas Murray commenting on Trevor Phillips piece in the Sunday Times ahead of his own documentary on the ICM Poll findings. The PC problems with seeing a reaction to multiculturalism as hate-driven, phobic, Islamophobic. Islam really does have some problems worth us all addressing.
Safe Spaces in Academia? – Also yesterday, Jonathan Haidt and Stephen Fry both on what’s wrong in the “safe spaces” saga. [More on Stephen Fry and Rationalism here.] Part of the simplistication problem, the tendency to want to keep controversial complicating factors out one’s own debate. No one has a right “to be platformed” by anyone else, but no-one should be banned or no-platformed simply for having a view controversial – even offensive – to your own debate. Managing a debate agenda is a crucial right and need, too many different variables in one time and place is everything and nothing, chaotic and ultimately regressive. All very sad because it is of course, nothing whatsoever to do with what the idea of safe space was originally meant to be in academia. The very opposite in fact: A space insulated from the real world, so that you now can experiment in that learning environment with the riskiest ideas (and substances) without hurting anyone else now or yourself later in the real world. The more controversial the better the learning opportunity.
Mediaeval Practices? – as progress – eg Halal meat in Asda – and a lot more on LGBTI issues. Surely most UK / EU supply chain meat has been dual (halal certifiable) for some decades? Is US intensive beef production any more humane than traditional halal? How much in practice is halal symbolically ceremonial, rather than actual butchery practice? And more.
Normal? – a PC elephant in the room is making any distinction between respect for universality of rights, and what is considered normal in public behaviour. I’m a straight, atheist, white, guy – but none of those is normally front and centre in my daily life. Unlike concern for our human ecosystem in thought and action, which is. Normal. Normally front and centre. A difficult word for PC reasons. Normal in the many statistical senses of average expectations, and normal in the sense of some normalising tendency towards that norm. Even the existence of any norms. A level playing field doesn’t imply a uniformly flat distribution of reality. Tough one for some regressive lefties, that one, even some of the less regressive. (Here a classic example – Germaine Greer no less, gets into confusion between stereotypically “normal” gender and reality of transgender individuals.)
Western Values? – have been the PC elephant all along. Simply contrasting “British” or Western” or “UN Universal Human” rights and values against aspects of Islamic (and other) religious tradition and practice is seen as bigotted and racist by many. Even today we see news of Saudi, and all members of the Muslim Cooperation Organisation, rejecting any overt reference to LGBTI rights in a UN context. Hat-tip to @AMDWaters for retweeting many links on these issues. Complicated by the fact that the UN declaration on freedom of thought and expression which includes freedoms of religious expression is often annoyingly abbreviated to “Freedom of Religious Expression.” With good reason, I am allowed to criticise your religion and reject its practices where I deem they fail to meet universal human rights. It’s the goodness and the reason that matter. Values. Universal human values cannot be couched in detailed statutes and case law covering every example. Making everything explicit legal is not helpful.
All Truth is Good? – but not all truth is good to say. African proverb. Hat-tip to @DavidGurteen. What you believe deep down, cannot always be what is overtly expressed in every situation. That’s not hypocritical, it’s normal to layer reality. See “normal” above. And see Maajid Nawaz on Muslim attitude to gays. Have been struck before by gay inconsistencies in Islam. T E Lawrence made references in 1916 to men using each other to comfort and slake their lusts. My own experience of hairy-arsed construction workers in Balochistan in the 1980’s included a surprising number of gay couples, surprisingly camp too. Today I know (ex-)Muslim gays. Taqiya? It’s only a big deal if someone chooses to make it so, and then you challenge their motives. And East meets West again today in Baloch.
Lightening the Mood? What “some Muslims really think of what British Muslims think”. Baroness Warsi in a longer twitter conversation as Muslims take the piss out of how diverse a group is represented. Apologism some call it when humour is on the other foot. And how about this for a mockery. And here is Theos contribution – understanding how not to react is every bit as important. And follow-up from that meta-Muslim thread, after broadcast of the documentary.
[Holding notes from yesterday:
Later yesterday, same story from Stephen Fry
“The regressive left, coming after language and free speech”.
“Deep infantilism in modern society …. people needed to grow up”.
“In terms of how they think, they can’t bear complexity, the idea that things aren’t easy to understand.”
“They want to be told, or they want to be able to decide and say, this is good, and this is bad, and anything that conflicts with that is not to be borne.”
(More on Stephen Fry and Rationalism here.)
And also : Jonathan Haidt on “safe spaces” in academe – the same topic that prompted Fry above. The original point of safe spaces was so students could experiment with the whackiest ideas – and substances – available, free from censure and later repercussions, and safely away from the rest of us currently leading normal lives.]
[And Post Post Note : probably not the right place to put this, but I wanted to capture it. There was a poll of UK Muslim opinion released today, with obvious click-bait headlines in various media, and the usual sarky piss-taking comments on Twitter. Be thankful for Kenan Malik digging in to the actual findings:
My original comment on the Grauniad story this morning:
“Good analysis, provided people actually read the detail behind the PC headline?”
Malik’s later analysis, latest first:
Much of this is similar to previous polls, suggesting issues that need confronting, but not necessarily as the headlines present them. View conversation
And there is a greater sense of not feeling British within the general population than among Muslims (17% vs 11%) 4/ View conversation
For instance,Muslims feel more strongly that they ‘belong to Britain’ than does the general population (86% vs 83%) 3/ View conversation
…but also a considerable sense of attachment to Britain and to social responsibility. 2/ View conversation
What the poll seems to show is a deep well of social conservatism, a more polarised community that most imagine… 1/ View conversation
…you look at the figure for the general population – which is 27% – more than double that for Muslims. 2/2 View conversation
Poll shows 13% of British Muslims can understand why Muslim might be attracted to radical groups. Which might seem a high figure, until… 1/2 View conversation
But the poll also shows only 30 per cent of general population would. In fact it’s a lower fig for gen pop than for Muslims (30% vs 34%) 2/2 View conversation
The Times today reports that ‘only 1 in 3 of British Muslims would tip off the police if someone close was involved in terrorism’. 1/2 View conversation
The poll is, as one might imagine, complex in what it reveals, and far more so than the headlines might suggest. For instance… View conversation
Final few tweets about the ICM/C4 Muslim poll before I get down to some proper work. The full details are here: http://www.icmunlimited.com/data/media/pdf/Mulims-full-suite-data-plus-topline.pdf …
In 2011. We had 2.7 Muslims. 700,000 lived in local authorities where they made up more than 20%. See census.
Kenan Malik @kenanmalik
Would be interesting to check what percentage of British Muslims live in areas of more than 20% concentration. https://twitter.com/ShirazMaher/status/719458615896186880 …
Kenan Malik Retweeted Shiraz Maher
Would be interesting to check what percentage of British Muslims live in areas of more than 20% concentration.
Shiraz Maher @ShirazMaher
Not that they thought it should be ‘encouraged by society’. 2/2
Correction to previous ‘Muslim poll’ tweets. Should have said Pew poll found 39% of US Muslims think ‘homosexuality should be accepted’ 1/2
It would be unfortunate if the debate around this poll, as already seems to be happening, ignored the wider context. 15/ View conversation
Or of different social policies in different Western countries. The likelihood is that it is a combination of all three. 14/ View conversation
The differences could be the result of different countries of origins, of the different developments of migrant communities… 13/ View conversation
The differences between attitudes of British, French and US Muslims can plausibly be attributed to a number of factors. 12/ View conversation
According to Pew poll 39% of US Muslims think ‘homosexuality should be encouraged by society’ 7/ View conversation
According to Ifop poll, 81% French Muslims think women should have equal rights, 38% support right to abortion, etc. 6/ View conversation
Here, for instance, is an Ifop poll of French Muslims: http://www.ifop.com/media/pressdocument/343-1-document_file.pdf … And a Pew poll on US Muslims: http://www.people-press.org/files/2011/08/muslim-american-report.pdf … 5/ View conversation
The social attitudes of British Muslims tend to be far more conservative than those of Muslims in many other Western countries. 4/ View conversation
In 2013, for instance, there was a YouGov/University of Lancaster poll for
@lindawoodhead: http://cdn.yougov.com/cumulus_uploads/document/mm7go89rhi/YouGov-University%20of%20Lancaster-Survey-Results-Faith-Matters-130130.pdf … 3/ View conversation
This is not the first poll to have shown the deep social conservatism of British Muslims. 2/View conversation
On the ICM/C4/Trevor Phillips Muslim poll – I will write something properly on this soon. In the meantime a few quick thoughts. 1/
I don’t have any proper data on this, but from personal experience British Muslims were more liberal on these issues 25 years ago. 10/ View conversation
British Muslims, on the other hand, seem to have become more conservative on such social issues. 9/ View conversation
Over past 25 years, people of most faiths in Britain have become more liberal on issues such as homosexuality and women’s rights. 8/ View conversation
…. probably should have tagged and storyfied that!
And here Douglas Murray in The Spectator unpicks what Trevor Phillips has learned about Islamaphobia from the survey.]