There’s an Islamic school in Birmingham which is very highly regarded. It’s called Darul Uloom — the same name as the school in Chislehurst which was recently the subject of an arson attack. In fact, that’s how I stumbled across it. Anyway, Darul Uloom in Birmingham is a good school not only academically, but also for the emphasis it puts upon neighbourliness, integration, and decent and friendly dealings with non-Muslims. In short it is a model school of its kind; it will surely not turn out furious jihadis, will it? The school encourages multi-faith dialogue, it urges upon its pupils the need to treat all members of the community with respect. Why does it do this? The school explains by means of a quotation on its website. It’s a story about Maalik Bin Dinaar, an early follower of Muhammad:
Once Maalik Bin Dinaar rented a room next to the home of a Jew. His room was adjacent to the entrance of the Jew’s home. The Jew spitefully always deposited garbage and filth in Maalik’s entrance. Even his musalla (prayer place) would at times be soiled. This treatment continued for a long period, but Maalik Bin Dinaar never complained.
One day the Jew came and said: ‘Does the garbage I deposit in front of your room not distress you?’
Maalik: ‘It does distress me, but I wash and clean the place.’
Jew: ‘Why do you tolerate so much distress?’
Maalik: ‘Allah has promised substantial reward for those who contain their anger and forgive people.’
Jew: ‘Truly, your Deen (religion) is beautiful. It commands toleration of even the hardships presented by enemies.’
The Jew was so affected by the beautiful conduct of Maalik Bin Dinaar that he embraced Islam.
So, there we are — even spiteful, filthy, enemy Jews can be redeemed.
We have attempted to placate ourselves, following the savage murder of Drummer Rigby, by deploying a dichotomy: Islam (and ordinary Muslims) versus this thing ‘Islamism’. Islam is a noble and peaceable faith which we must all respect, whereas Islamism is a corrosive  and aggressive political ideology, and the two — weirdly — have nothing to do with one another. This is a patent nonsense, a delusion, and while it may work as a form of crowd control, it will not help us win this battle. It is indisputable that the vast majority of British Muslims were as disgusted by the events in Woolwich as the rest of us were — although I suspect a markedly smaller proportion would have been properly disgusted in, say, Gaza or Isfahan or Riyadh or Karachi. That, however, is not the point. The problem is that so-called ‘Islamism’ is already half-formed within the tenets, the texts, the ideas of Islam; within the ideology of how it sees other people, those who are not Muslims, and what one should do with them.