You may assume, because I once wrote an article critical of a so-called islamist turned reformer whose path crossed with mine in my youth, that I am a champion of the ardent activists who stand against him. But you would be wrong.
I admit, I still can’t stand to hear the public rants of that old acquaintance of mine — celebrated by our opponents, but much maligned by my brethren — but my enemy’s enemies are not my friends. The impassioned activists who have taken his place, setting themselves up as spokesmen for this community I find myself a very vague part of irritate me just as much.
I hate their propaganda. I hate their crappy news websites masquerading as journalism, which consistently present biased readings of events with their partial telling of facts and obliteration of inconvenient truths. I detest their advocacy based on identity politics, instead of the demands of truth and justice. I hate the way they parade before university islamic societies all around the country, setting the agenda for impressionable students — mostly newly practising and naive in faith — for years to come, promulgating their reactionary politics as the truest vision for the faithful in Britain.
No, I am not a fan of the conglomeration of activists, advocacy groups, celebrity scholars and amateur journalists. I rally against this vocal collective too, but you won’t find people sharing these articles far and wide. Only my article critical of my old companion turned celebrity cause sudden spikes in traffic to my usually quiet website, shared once again whenever he goes off on another rant publicly attacking the Muslim faithful.
To the displeasure of those who come here to pat me on the back, I am as critical of the celebrity activists who cavort around as our spokesmen as I am of the celebrity reformer everywhere despised. I think many who share that article on social media miss the point entirely. Alas, we don’t do introspection — we play identity politics instead — and my post is seen as a form of point scoring.
I wrote that post to address somebody I used to know, whose past has become distorted by friends and foe alike. If I knew these activists personally, I might well do the same for them. I might utter uncomfortable truths and risk their censure and attack. But as I don’t, I just hope that they have friends willing to offer them sincere advice, who might ground them a little in reality. What I see is this: there is a great game at play, and I fear that many, many people are being played.