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British Muslim leaders are meeting with Ruth Kelly to talk about combating ‘extremism’ in sections of their community.

This is the Ruth Kelly who attends Opu Dei meetings, although refuses to confirm or deny that she is a member of this highly conservative Catholic group.

The same Opus Dei that provided spiritual comfort to Spanish fascism and South American military regimes, that continues to harbour homophobia and misogyny, some of whose members engage in ritualised self-harm, and whose attitude towards contraception condemns countless people to AIDS and other sexually transmitted conditions. This isn’t sub-Da Vinci Code hysteria. As far as I’m concerned, contemporary Catholicism has many enormously positive strands, that value human dignity and take meaningful action to improve the world in a specifically Catholic manner. Its not possible to envisage European intellectual and cultural life without a massive Catholic contribution. And most of the faults of Opus Dei are not exclusive to Catholic groups, but are also found in some other Christian denominations.

Yet it sticks in my throat that Muslims should feel that they have to demonstrate their ‘anti-extremist’ credentials to New Labour in general, and to Ruth Kelly in particular.

2 thoughts on “Extremists

  1. I was going to post along similar lines. There are countless groups who go under religious banners who do an awful lot of the various things that might be symptomatic of “extremism”.

    Moazzam Begg ended up in GTMO, for what, when I heard him, sounded as if, had it been a member of pretty mainstream Christian groups, would have been called “missionary work”. Going to often war torn countries where your fellow faith travellers were suffering in some way to minister to them, and even do front line support roles in fighting (which I don’t think from memory Begg did).

    What about Jehova’s Witnesses. Pretty nice, decent, good Christian people by and large, but certainly prozeletyzers of a fairly “extreme” form of Christianity, and even, on occasion, killing people through their “witness”.

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