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Posted by Margaret on Monday, May 16, 2011

The Big Questions on BBC TV on Sunday was amusing. It was supposed to be about “The future of British Islam”. Nicky Campbell lost control of a bunch of Muslims all shouting at one another, while Dame Anne Leslie kept chipping in with comments prefaced with “When I was in Pakistan/Iran/Afghanistan…”, etc. When she referred to the burqa as a “bin bag”, that really fanned the flames of indignation.

I had to Google Dr Taj Hargey, whose posture indicated his contempt for most of the opinions being expressed by sitting right back in his chair, while others leant forward as they tried to outshout one another. He’s described as “the imam who took on the ‘Muslim McCarthyists'”.

While there are similarly diverse views about the correct version of Christianity among those who care about such things, a majority of nominal Christians neither know nor care about the theology of the religion they claim to follow, and rarely, if ever, read the Bible. You don’t get the feeling that a majority of Muslims are equally casual about their religion. They all read the Qur’an, for a start.

There was no consensus about what the future of British Islam might be, though most of those who spoke were keen to distance themselves from extremists and terrorists. Judging from the diversity of opinions on the Big Questions, they’re going to be so busy arguing with one another about who’s right and who’s wrong that their future will be fractious, which is why the Government should not consult any of their self-appointed “leaders” on matters of public policy. None of them represents anyone but themselves.

(First published on The Answer’s 42)

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