Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Tue109 2018

Last update19:14 PM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
:: Archive > MB in International press
We Must Engage With Moderate Muslims
Building a secure and tolerant multi-ethnic society is one of the biggest challenges Britain faces.
Thursday, August 24,2006 00:00
by Michael Gove, The Guardian
Far from being ’paranoid’ my book calls for a more robust relationship with Islam, says Michael Gove

Building a secure and tolerant multi-ethnic society is one of the biggest challenges Britain faces. Which is why I was pleased to be able to share a radio studio last month with Madeleine Bunting (The venomous media voices who think no Muslim is worth talking to, August 16) to discuss what government’s role should be. She and I agreed that the government’s current approach was flawed. It smacked, we both agreed, of the old colonial approach of "getting the sheikh to deliver his people". I argued that what we needed was an engagement with Britain’s Muslims which did not see them as an undifferentiated mass, but rather recognised the variety of traditions and identities they enjoy.

Which is why I was surprised to read that Bunting thinks I am a "venomous media voice who thinks no Muslim is worth talking to". As someone who has spoken to hundreds of Muslims at meetings organised by a variety of groups the allegation is nonsensical.

According to Bunting, I, along with Melanie Phillips of the Daily Mail and Martin Bright of the New Statesman, not only believe that extremists should be shunned but I also think moderates shouldn’t be engaged with because they’re "unrepresentative". This couldn’t be more wrong. My new book on Islamist terror, Celsius 7/7 - which she dismisses as "paranoid" - explicitly makes the case for improved engagement with those moderate Muslims who I believe represent the majority.

The argument I make in Celsius 7/7 is a plea for a more robust approach to those individuals whose version of Islam leads them to reject liberal values of tolerance, pluralism, gender equality and sexual diversity. There is a strain within Islam at once puritan and militant which is closely associated with the thinking of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In her piece, Bunting argues that the Brotherhood is "the 20th century’s most influential political Islamic movement", but the prime minister and many others have warned of the impact of Brotherhood thinking in driving extremism. Indeed, some of voices associated with the Brotherhood have also appeared regularly in the Guardian’s comment pages.

I am concerned that the Islamist argument that Muslims should put their allegiance to a particular version of their faith ahead of their commitment to the country they share with others risks undermining healthy community relations. And I think government should consider how its interaction with Islamist groups may be holding back social cohesion.

We need to widen the range of Muslim voices government listens to, so that debate is broadened beyond the agenda of the most theologically conservative and politically militant. Far from arguing that Muslims aren’t worth talking to, I believe we need a more open conversation about how we tackle extremism together. Sadly, on the basis of her article, I fear it is Bunting, not me, who seems to want to deny certain arguments a fair hearing.

· Michael Gove is Conservative MP for Surrey Heath. His book Celsius 7/7 is published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson

[email protected]

· The Response column offers those who have been written about in the Guardian an opportunity to reply. If you wish to respond, at greater length than in a letter, to an article in which you have featured either directly or indirectly, please email [email protected] or write to Response, The Guardian, 119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER. We cannot guarantee to publish all responses, and we reserve the right to edit pieces for both length and content

Other Topics:

Democracy also means that Islamists are allowed to vote
Ikhwanweb, London-UK
Time to take a stand on Egypt’s democracy
Ikhwanweb, London-UK
The Challenge of Democracy In the Muslim World
Ikhwanweb, London-UK
Ikhwan Complex:
Ikhwanweb -London, UK
MB Today [About MB]
Ikhwanweb -London, UK
Online Library
Ikhwanweb -London, UK
shifting political currents along the nile
Centre Daily Times - Centre County,PA,USA
Bracing for the final battle
Toronto Star - Ontario, Canada
Egyptian Islamist detained after acquittal
Independent Online - Cape Town,South Africa
A reluctant president?
Guardian Unlimited - UK
Open Sesamedia
TCS Daily - Washington,DC,USA
US Silence in Egypt Speaks Sad Volumes
Canton Repository (subscription) - Canton,OH,USA
Muslims and the West: Antipathy and mistrust
International Herald Tribune - France
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to make a movie
Middle East Times - Cairo,Egypt
The US and Egypt: Giving up on the ’liberty doctrine’
International Herald Tribune - France
The Future of the Muslim Brotherhood
Amr Al-Chobaki, Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies - Cairo, Egypt
The West Abandons the Push For Democracy In The Arab World
Ikhwanweb, London-UK
Presidents in perpetuity
Al-Ahram Weekly - Cairo,Egypt
’The battle is not over’
Al-Ahram Weekly - Cairo,Egypt
Back to square one
Al-Ahram Weekly - Cairo,Egypt
Not yet, thanks
Economist (subscription) - UK
This season’s footwear
Al-Ahram Weekly - Cairo,Egypt
Parliament Comes Down on Judiciary
Inter Press Service (subscription) - Rome,Italy
EGYPT: New law does little to liberalise judicial system, say Reuters AlertNet - London,England,UK
Egyptian Editor Gets Year in Jail for Insult
Voice of America - USA
Egypt justice law ’disappointing’
BBC News - UK
Jailed activists released in Egypt
Socialistworker.co.uk - London,UK
Egypt’s judges have struck a major blow for real democracy
Daily Star - Lebanon - Beirut,Lebanon
EGYPT: Journalists’ sentencing draws angry reactions
Reuters AlertNet - London,England,UK
egypt: Islamists detained in Alexandria
Monday Morning - Beirut,Lebanon
Who has an interest in destabilizing Egypt and weakening its role?
Monday Morning - Beirut,Lebanon
Rights Monitor Makes Statement on Cruelty
Los Angeles Times - CA,USA
Debate reignites cartoon row
Gulf News - Dubai,United Arab Emirates
Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria | Where America Meets the World
Newsweek - USA
The Ikhwan complex
Al-Ahram Weekly - Cairo,Egypt
Antinomies of power
Al-Ahram Weekly - Cairo,Egypt
Egypt’s new video guerrillas add a twist to social activism
Daily News & Analysis - Mumbai,India
OPT: International Media Seminar discusses impact of media on ...
ReliefWeb (press release) - Geneva,Switzerland
Ferry Report Blames Owners, Corruption
Egypt Today - Cairo,Egypt
US ambassador insists relations on track
Al-Ahram Weekly - Cairo,Egypt
Unlikely Reformers: Egyptian Judges Challenge the Regime
JURIST - USA
MIDDLE EAST: Weekly human-rights roundup
Reuters AlertNet - London,England,UK
Ikhwan Complex:
Ikhwanweb -London, UK


Posted in MB in International press , MB and West  
Add Comment Send to Friend Print
Related Articles