The contributions from Gary Younge and Ziauddin Sardar shed less light. Sardar seems to think all the debate over Muslim political identity is a silly distraction:
British Muslims need to pay more attention to the doubts and fears that their fellow citizens have. They have a duty to establish intellectual, social, cultural and political spaces for the development of trust and appeasement. This has to begin with an engagement in a clear discussion about Islam, about the practices and the values that Muslims promote. Islam is not a culture but a body of principles and universal values. One should not mix up these universal principles with a Pakistani, Turkish or Arabic way of living them.
Islam allows Muslims to adopt aspects of the culture they find themselves in, as long as it does not oppose any clear prohibition specified by their religion. While practicing their religion they can preserve certain features of their own culture of origin - in the form of richness, not dogmas - while integrating into British culture, which in turn becomes a new dimension of their own identity. No one asks that they remain Pakistani or Arabic Muslims, but simply Muslims; with time, they become Muslims of British culture. This is a process that is not only normal but desirable
...[I]t assumes that "Muslim political identity" is more problematic than say, black, feminist or gay political identity. It is not. Muslims may demand their political rights, but this is no more threatening than any other marginalised group asking for access to public space.If a feminist group imposed a death sentence on Norman Mailer, I suppose he might have a point.