Dove World Outreach Center church pastor Terry Jones
Dove World Outreach Center church pastor Terry Jones.

The controversial English Defence League is once again hitting the headlines after the anti-Islam group invited Pastor Terry Jones to speak at an EDL rally early next year.

Pastor Jones is himself no stranger to controversy having caused uproar in the Muslim world by threatening to burn a Koran to mark the anniversary of the 11 September terrorist attacks. When the day came however Pastor Jones did not burn the Koran.

Just weeks later however five men in Gateshead, in the North of England, were arrested after burning a Koran and posting a video of the event on YouTube. The men are believed to have connections with the EDL.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has said that she is considering putting a ban on Pastor Jones entering the country.

Meanwhile the far-left group Unite Against Fascism (of which Prime Minister David Cameron is a supporter) is planning to hold a counter-rally against the EDL's rally in Luton, scheduled for 5 February.

The news brings into sharp focus the divisions caused in society by Islamism, a subject very few politicians or public figures are willing to talk about.

Four years ago Professor Anthony Glees of Brunel University published a report in which he said that Islamic extremists were actively recruiting at British universities. The response from those universities, much like the political class, was to bury their heads in the sand.

At the London School of Economics representatives of the Student Union rubbished the report, saying that there was no Islamic extremism at the university. This from the university which produced Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, one of the murderers of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan just a few years earlier, and where a number of students proudly bore banners saying "Victory to the Intifada".

The London School of Economics is not alone in producing actual and would be terrorists. The "under pants bomber", Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to strike last Christmas and yesterday's bombing in Sweden, believed to be by Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, were both conducted by people who had attended British universities.

Politicians on all sides have shown themselves reluctant to discuss the issue openly, presumably out of fear of being labelled "Islamophobic" or "far right". This silence has left a void which extremists, such as those at the British National Party and now the English Defence League, have been able to fill.

Encouragingly there are moves being made against Islamism by the Muslim community itself. In August this year the Muslim scholar Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri led Britain's first "anti-extremism" camp for 1,000 young Muslims after reportedly issuing the first ever fatwa condemning terrorism and violence under all circumstances.

It is also being reported today that Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly was met with strong criticism from his local mosque in Luton when he attempted to preach his own extreme interpretation of Islam.

However unless Britain's politicians start to talk about Islamism openly and honestly, the nation's Islamic community is likely to have to face its own extremists alone, while simultaneously having to face the abuse and threats of the EDL.