JISPIL Vol 8 Issue 2 2012 - Book Review 2

Islamic Radicalism and Multicultural Politics
The British Experience
by Tahir Abbas, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, New York, USA, 2011, ISBN 9780415572255
M. Sikander

Islam unlike any other religion is blamed for terrorism in our contemporary times. The stereotypical media, the political commentators, strategic pundits and religious experts have so much reinforced the myth of Islam being related to terrorism, that the term Islam has become synonymous with terrorism in the eyes of Non Muslims. Though, it is a fact that there has been radicalization of many Muslim youth in both the Muslim and Non Muslim countries. But the reasons for this radicalization aren’t analyzed deeply and factually, but it is generalized that Islam is responsible for them. The present book under review by the versatile academic and seasoned commentator on Muslim Affairs, Tahir Abbas, tries to fill this lacunae and voids in the dominant discourse about Muslims in academic circles and media, through this work, that includes Britain and British Muslims as a case study. Tahir in his Preface and Introduction of the book laments about the apathy of various actors that blame only Muslims, while never questioning the policy and behavior of the majority towards Muslims particularly in Britain. He writes, “Wider society has placed an emphasis upon the apparent unassimilability of Muslims, a policy focusing on ‘community cohesion’ as opposed to eliminating deep seated structural inequalities, while there is a general widening of economic and social divisions in society as a whole. These attempts have placed the attention onto Muslims and not the workings of society…..Policies seek to modify, improve or develop the behaviors of Muslims and the ways of Islam but not always the attitudes of majority society. Right wing groups paint Muslims as the cause of all problems, i.e. whether it is to do with immigration or issues of perceived cultural relativism”. Tahir further writes about the need to move forward, “to move forward, it needs to be recognized that the problems of violent extremism are not about the religion of Islam per se but global political ideology, a lack of national social cohesion and detrimental local area economic conditions.

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