Like so many ivory tower ‘specialists’ who have recently emerged from the woodwork to become instant ‘experts’ on Islam and the Middle East, and then glibly proceed to pontificate on the imperfections and modality of Muslim responses to terrorism, Michael Burleigh’s questionable opinions (winning Muslim hearts and minds, 30th November 2006,http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/11/30/do3002.xml) are riddled with blatant double standards and outright hypocrisy. The most egregious in his litany of biased assertions are his facile remarks that ‘it is a continent-wide disgrace that 200 European Muslims have been to Iraq to kill coalition soldiers’.
Without condoning for a moment the decision by some angry Western-born Muslims to defend their co-religionists from illegal Anglo-American armed conquest and occupation, why is Burleigh completely silent on the incontrovertibly illegitimate nature of the Bush-Blair invasion of Iraq? Has he questioned by what original right (not post-facto consent) so-called ‘coalition’ forces have to wage a non-UN sanctioned belligerency that has now resulted in the death of several hundred thousand people thus far in that occupied country? Is he publicly critical of the neo-conservative US imperialistic agenda in the Middle East? For every Western provocation and foreign aggression throughout the 20th century, there has been an inevitable Muslim backlash. Is it fair to blame the victims without condemning the aggressors? Unless Burleigh and other Western armchair observers maintain scrupulous impartiality and integrity in their myopic analyses, they will be dismissed by all thinking British Muslims as nothing but wily apologists of the White House and Downing Street propaganda machines.
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16th October 2006