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Before I start talking about the main issue I want to talk about , I would like to thank Amnesty International for a well chaired debate on the Human Rights Act and the York Tories for hosting an excellent and informing event by Vote leave. York UKIP is also having a branch meeting at 7:30, which will be in lieu of our normal meeting on Monday 23rd , please email us at Ukip@yusu.org us for details.
Now onto today's primary subject , the attacks in Paris I'm sure shocked everyone in York and Europe to the core. I am not making political points or trying to exploit tragedy by saying what I am about to say, as if we are to prevent atrocities like this from happening again lessons must be learnt.
The most important of which is that turning a blind eye to Islamic extremism , or more precisely pretending that there are not interpretations of the Qu'ran that can be used to justify violence, is not helping. It doesn't help because it shuts down the debate that moderate Muslims need to have to produce anti-terrorist counter narratives , it doesn't help because it effectively imposes an unspoken blasphemy law against Islam which stifiles free speech , and it doesn't help because it allows extremists (both anti-Muslim and Jihadist) to dictate the narrative.
There are passages in the Qu'ran that justify violence such as the passage in Surah 8:12 "Strike off the heads (of the unbelievers)" there is also the simple fact that Islam's founding is bathed in blood , Muhammed was initially peaceful as a historical figure , but he also fought many brutal wars against what were then pagan kingdoms (many of which are detailed in the Hadiths) . To pretend that Islam is always a religion of peace, that it cannot be interpreted violently , is not only foolish but dangerous. I acknowledge that the majority of British Muslims according to a BBC poll taken after the Charlie Hebdo attack (89%) do not sympathise with violent anti-Western sentiments , that still leaves approximately 330,000 (roughly 11%) of British Muslims that sympathise with them. So what do we do about this? Well one thing we don't do is attack all Muslims as potential terrorists (as one particularly stupid candidate of my party as done) , that would just lead to greater alienation and more extremists. Another thing we don't do is engage in left-wing hand wringing (such as Keith Vas implying support of blasphemy laws) simply hoping that the problems with Islam will go away on their own, they won't. What needs to be done is to build a counter-extremist narrative based on Qu'ranic scholarship , working together with moderate Muslims to purge the cancer that is Islamic extremism.
On a side note, this does mean enforcing border controls properly in and out of Europe , and not simply assuming that all the people who claim to be refugees are indeed so. Two of the roughly 8 from what I have read on news outlets came through the Greco-Turkish border. Even if the passport found at the scene was fake , it still shows that Daesh is using the crisis to its advantage. Yes , genuine refugees are actually running from the terrorists , but a small number of terrorists (it only takes a few) have got in through exploiting the crisis. This is not scaremongering but factual. We should not stop taking genuine asylum seekers in, it would be immoral not to, but making sure people are actually fleeing for their lives, rather than intending to cause more harm, is sensible. In short we must react to this crisis with care , but also not be afraid to stand up for our values as a nation.