As a British Muslim, I desperately want to decry it as an ugly caricature, but I can't - the depiction captures a very real malaise. It is impossible to disagree that there is "...a gaping – and widening – fissure between [the nation at large] and Britain’s Muslims", or that "...in front of our eyes, an entire section of British society is..being left to break off and simply drift away."
But in failing to spear the elephant-sized target - "...I don’t know why we have a specific problem of Muslim integration. I’m not sure anyone does." - he raised the ire of +Raheem Kassam, who in his response, concluded that Mr Hodges is actually blaming "...you. And your family. And everyone else except Britain's ghettoised Muslim communities." Leaving aside Mr Kassam's issues with basic logic, Dan Hodges' failure to just state the obvious was indeed anti-climactic. So let's do just that - the 'Muslim Problem' is, primarily, one of a strand of Muslim thinking that, simply put, has no place in Britain, Europe, the West or the East. From London to Lahore, there can be no accommodation for a philosophy that revels in confrontation, ignorance and war. But if this epoch-defining Jihad is to be won, then the battle must be lead by Muslims themselves. And therein lies the rub - for whilst this cancer within the Muslim corpus has perhaps always existed, its growth is, without doubt, a function of hate; a response to hate.
I'll take a punt... the British kids who've joined ISIS are not, in the main, fired with religious zeal. What inspires them is the chance to coalesce under an Islamic flag, hold their heads up high, and fight - to finally respond to the hatred that they've quietly been absorbing, for years. For these youths are the product of a venomous public discourse vis-a-vis Islam and Muslims, that has been skewering their psyche, pretty much daily, for as long as they can remember.
Having grown up under a cloud of suspicion, and been tagged as fanatics, they've called the nation's bluff and descended into fanaticism. It's the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy.
Following each new 'dot' in the picture, the 'Professional Islamophobe Vs Professional Muslim' merry-go-round comes to town. And as Dan Hodges correctly points out, it's a circus of which many of us are now tired. If a change is to come it has to be lead by the Ummah, who must acknowledge their own problem, and *theologically* defeat the enemy within. Convincing the 'Muslim Streeet' though, is perhaps more about emotion, than theology - and for that, the casual, even gleeful pinning of Muslims at large to the lunatic fringe, has to stop. For if people are forever told they are on the outside, they'll eventually stop knocking, and simply go elsewhere.