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:
"Warsi’s 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 her."
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 here).
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.