‘Patriotic, pious, peaceful and patient. Labour’s anti-terror strategy depends on mythical figures as elusive as WMD’, writes Gary Younge.
Somewhere out there is the Muslim that the British government seeks. Like all religious people he (the government is more likely to talk about Muslim women than to them) supports gay rights, racial equality, women’s rights, tolerance and parliamentary democracy. He abhors the murder of innocent civilians without qualification – unless they are in Palestine, Afghanistan or Iraq. He wants to be treated as a regular British citizen – but not by the police, immigration or airport security. He wants the best for his children and if that means unemployment, racism and bad schools, then so be it.
He raises his daughters to be assertive: they can wear whatever they want so long as it’s not a headscarf. He believes in free speech and the right to cause offence but understands that he has neither the right to be offended nor to speak out. Whatever an extremist is, on any given day, he is not it.