The Home Office has set up a funding competition through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) in order to “find innovative ways to prevent vulnerable people from becoming radicalised”. It behoves all of us to support this initiative and so I propose the following in the hope of making a contribution:
Since the aim of this competition is “to develop innovative solutions for understanding and preventing radicalisation and support for terrorism” I wish to offer the innovative view that HMG is looking for solutions in entirely the wrong places. At best, vulnerability, judgment skills, extremism, networks, propaganda and the internet are secondary or mediating factors.
There is one place, and one place alone, to look for the root cause of radicalisation, the Koran. I know because it radicalised me, only in the opposite direction.
We know that this approach of looking in the obvious place has not been tried at the Home Office because of statements made by the Home Secretary, now Prime Minister, Theresa May.
In September 2014 she said “The actions of ISIS have absolutely no basis in anything written in the Koran”.
To clarify, here are a few of ISIS’s activities along with their very clear basis in the Koran:
Likewise in January 2015 she said “I never thought I would see the day when members of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom would say they were fearful of remaining here.”
It is inconceivable that anyone could have read the Koran and made that statement. Here is a small selection of reasons why:
It will be immediately obvious that the verses quoted above have one thing in common, they all come from Mohammed’s Medinan period. If the importance of that distinction is not apparent it is made clear in this presentation of the Koran.
In short, while the Meccan suras are not exactly all sweetness and light toward non-Muslims, any violence is the prerogative of Allah. In the Medinan suras Allah instructs Mohammed and his followers to take that violence into their own hands. Unfortunately many of Mohammed’s followers today see those instructions as being eternally valid until all non-Muslims are either converted or subjugated. This is not surprising since the later scriptures of the Sira and Hadiths as well as the mediaeval commentaries and the various schools of Islamic Law overwhelmingly support that view.
Therefore, leaving aside all predisposing factors and means of transmission, the only sure way to prevent the radicalisation of those who are referred to in the Government’s Prevent Strategy as “vulnerable” is to prevent them being exposed to the radicalising content in the Koran. This aim undeniably presents practical difficulties but fortunately there are only 28 Medinan suras out of 114, though they do tend to be rather longer.
My proposal, therefore, is to produce and disseminate Korans consisting solely of the Meccan suras. It can be called “The Moderate Koran”. I will set up ECAW Publications for the purpose, and the SBRI will give me £100,000 to kick start the project.
Moderate Muslim groups should be canvassed to work as partners in spreading copies among Muslim communities. There will be no takers of course but the Home Office will have learned the important lesson of just how central to Islam the violent, supremacist verses actually are.
I recommend that the Home Secretary’s advisers should study the Medinan verses for themselves, and perhaps distance themselves from their usual sources of information about Islam (including those who persuaded Theresa May that Sharia is good for Britain). They would then do well to investigate alternative authorities on the Koran, living or dead, such as Ibn Kathir, Ibn Warraq, IQ Al-Rassooli and Robert Spencer (to whom Theresa May still owes an apology for needlessly banning him from Britain).
Studying these and similar sources should make it clear that the Meccan verses are all of the Koran which is compatible with democratic, pluralistic societies. What must logically follow is the acceptance that an element of compulsion will be necessary. Copies of the Koran containing the Medinan suras will have to be banned from mosques and faith schools, in fact from the country, as incitements to terrorism.
There will be resistance of course but, sadly, these actions are the bare minimum offering even a chance of avoiding the otherwise inevitable civil strife. We can of course just wait and hope for the best as atrocities mount and the demographics move ever more against us, or we can take pre-emptive measures.
Think of the apocryphal sign in an undertaker’s window, “Eventually – why not now?”