Over the last year, it seems that the so-called think tank, the Policy Exchange, has attempted to import a virulent strain of reactionary neo-conservatism to these shores. As Americans get wise to an unrelenting culture of hate, it seems odd that bigoted ideologues can peddle uninformed nonsense with impunity.
In his article 'Struggle for the soul of British Islam hots up' (The Times, 15th February), Mr. Godson purports to know the 'first instincts' of the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron. We hope Mr Cameron's instincts do not compare favourably to the mean-spirited obsessions of the Policy Exchange organisation's 'Research' Director.
The basis of his arguments is based on his recently-commissioned report 'Living Apart Together - British Muslims and the paradox of multiculturalism', a document that has no bearing in reputable scholarship.
Academics and independent analysts have given short shrift to the Policy Exchange's offerings. Marie Smyth and Jeroen Gunning from the Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Contemporary Political Violence at the University of Wales tell us that the report is at `odds with much other research, which would not be a problem if the writers engaged with the body of scholarship in this field. But without such an engagement, their validity remains dubious.'
Dean Godson is supported by Policy Exchange founding chairman and MP Michael Gove whose persistent hatred for the MCB is based on a misguided notion that the organization "campaign[s] [only] on issues such as Palestine, Iraq and Chechnya instead of women's access to higher education, improved child care and employment opportunities.'
MCB's work is outlined here. Our work is based on our commitment to seek the common good in this country. It means seeking equality and justice without fear or favour. Our work also entails celebrating and promoting the important contributions Muslims make to British life.
Messrs. Godson and Gove seek to divide the British Muslim community into 'good' and 'bad' partners, based on their own perverse preferences for compliant actors, and not on any objective analysis of the work of the organisations concerned.
Following Mr Godson's unwise irresponsible counsel can only lead Mr. Cameron and the Tory Party into a cul-de-sac. On the one hand, we witness an admirable attempt to rejuvenate the Conservative Party and make it relevant to the modern world. Worryingly however, there seems to be no policy consistency as it pursues short-term electoral gain and attacks British Muslims.
David Cameron can choose to listen to those sane voices in the Party who base their arguments on years of dialogue and experience derived from actually speaking with various Muslim organizations, or he can listen to a doctrinaire, agenda-driven faction. We urge him to the former. We wonder though how such an agenda-driven group has managed to find its way into influencing the leadership of what was supposed to be a new approach for the Conservative Party? David Cameron came to power on the promise of making a fresh start and appealing to the entire British population.