“The” Problem with Piers Morgan vs Tommy Robinson

Despite the fact Piers often remarked “Yes, I have often agreed with things you have said in the past.”, Tommy also said “Yes, I’ve apologised for some of the misguided things I’ve said in the past.” Let’s face it Maajid Nawaz founded Quilliam entirely on reversing things he said and believed when he was younger and hot-headed. There’s no love lost between these parties, but learning from mistakes, ours and those of others, is to be encouraged.

One argument for keeping this kind of debate off mainstream media is because the angry hot-headed “debate” stokes anger (and violent hatred) without noticeably progressing any constructive argument. The hypocritical and manipulative Piers sets the bar to moral high-ground pretty low, so Tommy easily wins that one. The second reason is that the shock-jock sound-bite set-piece style set-up by the host is never going to progress any subtle realities beyond shouty and personal gain-saying anyway. Credit to Tommy he did force in plenty of “Islamic” material and prior research he’d come armed with, despite the obviously set-up control-freakery of Piers, and as a rule I’m a supporter of conventional host / guest “platforming” arrangements. Tommy is the first to admit he’s not the one to make subtle arguments anyway. Shouting his simplistic points onto other people’s agenda is his style. In that he no doubt succeeded, but the triumphalism of “Tommy owned Piers” is grotesque.

Having considered all these arguments at various levels of detail many times before I have little new to say:

In fact “Islam, we have a problem” is how I’ve said it before.

Islam has any number of problems, like any ancient factional religion. And compared to the other two Abrahamic religions, is well behind the curve on reforming its illiberal patriarchal misogynistic traditions within and between factions. And even the most benign of religions has obvious theological problems between supernatural faith and wider accepted rationality.

Adding Islamism and a Jihadi-mindset into that mix, is a whole other level of problems. In the real world difference between religious teaching and otherwise non-secular democratic freedoms are an obvious recipe for conflict, if religious adherents expect explicit exceptions and impositions beyond basic tolerance. Murderous terrorist extremism in the name of any cause or ideology, is evil full stop. Specifically Islamist extremism – in the name of Islam – is a problem for Islam by association, however complex and flawed the immediate and historical causal chains of justification.

So how many problems is that; several dozen? And how are they related; how long have you got?

Islam isn’t “the” problem. Islam has its own distinct problems. Islamism is “a” (big) problem, but there is no “the” problem, except maybe ill-considered hateful simplistic “us vs them” – anti-religious, islamophobic – gain-saying. That is a problem for us all. Initiatives like Prevent, Quilliam and Inspire work to address any and all of these problems collaboratively rather than undermine each other’s efforts and stir up anger and Islamophobic hatred in the process.


[Post Note 2 days later, as if to prove my point in a single Tweet.
Inspire supporting Quilliam supporting Prevent.
Constructive efforts.


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