The Pope has now issued an apology to Muslims after indirect suggestions that Islam was a violent religion were greeted with violent demonstrations across the Islamic world (eg here).  We are in danger of entering a climate of fear where legitimate debate about Islam is suffocated.  The still-unresolved Inigo Wilson/ Orange affair – instigated by the Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK (MPACUK) – is part of this climate of fear.

The MPACUK do seem to be happy at recent initiatives by the current Tory leadership, however.  The willingness of David Cameron and William Hague to criticise Israeli action against the Hezbollah terrorists was hugely controversial amongst the Jewish community but has produced welcoming noises on the MPACUK website.  Under the title ‘Red Sun Setting, Blue Tide Rising‘ the MPACUK writes:

"While Tony Blair angered Muslim opinion by expediting weapons to Israel and the Liberal Democrats sat on their hands, William Hague, the shadow Foreign Minister criticised Israel’s disproportionate force during the summer invasion of Lebanon and now David Cameron’s masterful distancing himself from the Neo-Con rhetoric. He has rejected a “clash of civilisations” and accepts the role of the United Nations. While he makes political capital from a divided Labour leadership and myopic foreign policy, the Muslim community has started to take notice.These public statements in themselves do not mean that the Tories are the “good guys”, but it does mean they are no longer the “bad guys”. The Tories will be the next Government whether at the next general election or the one after. The more progressive and politically astute Muslims must be part of that transition. The Tories are reaching out to us and we must reach out to them."

Editor’s comment: If the Tories really are intent on supping with the likes of the MPACUK I hope it’s with a very, very long spoon.