#YouAintNoMuslimBruv? It’s just not true, says David Cameron

After Leytonstone’s horrific attacks, it wasn’t long before the hashtag #YouAintNoMuslimBruv began trending on Twitter. A witness had shouted these words at the attacker.

Nor was it long before David Cameron jumped on the bandwagon.

The PM gushed:

“Let me also pay credit to the person – can’t quite see who it is from the film – who made that brilliant statement about “you ain’t no Muslim”. I think – some of us have dedicated speeches and media appearances and soundbites and everything to this subject, but “you ain’t no Muslim, bruv” said it all much better than I ever could, and thank you, because that will be applauded all around the country.”

So which “speeches and media appearances and soundbites” were these, then?

Perhaps Cameron meant the speech he delivered in Birmingham this July. Here’s how he phrased that “brilliant” defence of Islam:

“the extremist world view is the gateway, and violence is the ultimate destination. [But] the adherents of this ideology are overpowering other voices within Muslim debate, especially those trying to challenge it. There are so many strong, positive Muslim voices that are being drowned out. …

“In the past, governments have been too quick to dismiss the religious aspect of Islamist extremism. But simply denying any connection between the religion of Islam and the extremists doesn’t work. Because these extremists are self-identifying as Muslims. The fact is from Woolwich to Tunisia, from Ottawa to Bali, these murderers all spout the same twisted narrative, one that claims to be based on a particular faith. Now it is an exercise in futility to deny that. And more than that, it can be dangerous. To deny it has anything to do with Islam means you disempower the critical reforming voices …”

Cameron litters his speech with the usual caveats and self-contradictions, allowing for “plausible deniability” under fire. But his message is crystal clear: Islam is linked to violent extremism – so we should make the link. We should emphasise the link. We haven’t emphasised the link enough. It is “dangerous” not to make the link. And not only that: extremism is Islam’s dominant “voice”, “overpowering” and “drowning out” all others.

Imagine if instead he’d stated:

“governments have been too quick to dismiss the religious aspect of Zionist extremism. But simply denying any connection between the religion of Judaism and the extremists doesn’t work. Because these extremists are self-identifying as Jews … these murderers all spout the same twisted narrative, one that claims to be based on a particular faith. Now it is an exercise in futility to deny that. And more than that, it can be dangerous. To deny it has anything to do with Judaism means you disempower the critical reforming voices …”

The idea is unthinkable, and rightly so.

To make this speech in the first place is outrageous enough. In a saner climate, Cameron would surely face calls to resign.

But to sweep it under the rug and bask in reflected glory when someone says the opposite is pure opportunism, and gross hypocrisy.

@timbird84

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