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Miliband Calls for Fair Engagement with Islamists
Miliband Calls for Fair Engagement with Islamists
“To broaden the coalition and win consent, we need to understand the Muslim world better, or we will risk undermining the force of our own argument, as I have sometimes done when using the labels ‘moderate’ and ‘extremist’; we need to hold fast to our own values and support those who seek to apply them, or we will be guilty of hypocrisy; and we need shared effort to address the grievances, socio-economic and political, that are perceived to keep Muslims down, and in fact do”, said Mili
Friday, May 22,2009 16:46
pomed.org

Democracy Digest points to British Foreign Minister David Miliband’s speech at the Oxford Center of Islamic Studies in which he called for a new approach to engaging peaceful political Islam which includes building a ‘coalition of consent’ with the Muslim world. In his speech, Miliband recognized that elections, while necessary for democracy, are not sufficient and called for strengthening of civil societies in the Arab world.

“To broaden the coalition and win consent, we need to understand the Muslim world better, or we will risk undermining the force of our own argument, as I have sometimes done when using the labels ‘moderate’ and ‘extremist’; we need to hold fast to our own values and support those who seek to apply them, or we will be guilty of hypocrisy; and we need shared effort to address the grievances, socio-economic and political, that are perceived to keep Muslims down, and in fact do”, said Miliband.

In a blog post on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s website prior to his speech, Miliband expressed a similar sentiment: “It is not good enough to categorise people as ’moderates’ or ‘extremists’ (a trap I have sometimes fallen into).  But there is a divide between those committed to politics and those who rely on violence.  If we respect those committed to politics, support the application of our own democratic values and help tackle the big grievances, including over Palestine, we can forge a new coalition and win consent.”  

The Financial Times praised Miliband’s speech as refreshing and cognizant of the realities of the complexities of political Islam and the simplistic view Western officials have for so long touted.


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