This week’s Spectator – of which I’ve just seen an advance copy – includes an interview with Shadow Communities Affair minister, Paul Goodman MP. Mr Goodman is characterised as ‘the shadow minister for militant Islam’ by The Spectator’s James Forsyth.
James (who recently wrote this for ConservativeHome) attacks Sayeeda Warsi in his article and suggests that David Cameron appointed Mr Goodman to balance her:
rise makes Cameron’s ascent from freshman MP to leader in four years
look almost sedate. In just two years she has gone from failed
parliamentary candidate to being responsible for, perhaps, the most
sensitive portfolio in opposition politics. Add in her history of
making injudicious statements about anti-terror laws, talking to
extremists, and Iraq — combined with some distinctly unCameroon views
on homosexuality — and you have a pretty volatile cocktail. Especially
as having staked his reputation on her judgment, Cameron cannot sack
Paul Goodman, the feature notes, has more
Muslim constituents (9,000) than any other Tory MP. It records his recent complaints about "the West Midland police’s bizarre
decision to refer a Channel 4 programme on Muslim extremism to Ofcom"
and Hazel Blears decision to restart talks with the Muslim Council of
Britain (two initiatives already covered on ConservativeHome – here and
Goodman concedes that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have contributed
to the radicalisation of young Muslims but he refuses to agree that
they are the main cause. James Forsyth writes:
"Separatism is the problem, according to Goodman. In the course of
an hour-long conversation he mentions it no fewer than 17 times. The
answer to this problem, he says, is to bolster moderate Muslims. It
often is: never have so few been invoked by so many. But Goodman, who
is a Jewish-born Roman Catholic and well versed in religion, can at
least define what this platitude means. ‘Moderate Islam has as its core
not wishing to see different people living under different law. Not
wishing to see sharia incorporated into British law.’"
In the interview (not yet available online) Mr Goodman also supports
the right of individual schools to ban the niqab and he professes
sympathy for the idea of establishing a college to educate public
policy actors about separatist extremism.
30 August update: The Spectator piece is now online.