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Islam and the West (08 Aug 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Muslim Converts: 1 — Dr Tim Winter: ‘Islam Is Inclusive, and Uncompromising; Pure Prophecy’

By Akbar Ahmed


Dr. Tim Winter, or Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, is one of Europe's most prominent Muslim scholars and an English convert to Islam. Winter studied at Oxford University, Cambridge University, Al-Azhar University in Cairo, and the University of London and is currently a professor at Cambridge University and dean of Cambridge Muslim College, which opened in 2009. I have known him for several years and my research team interviewed him in Cambridge for my projection Islam in Europe, Journey into Europe.

A native of London, Winter converted to Islam in the late 1970s, at the age of 19, when he was an undergraduate student at Cambridge. He noted that at the time many English people conceived of Islam as "something you'd encounter when you were serving with the colonial office or as a missionary, but otherwise it was not there on the English radar at all, for good or for ill." He also noted, "There were quite a lot of people also coming into Islam at that time. There's perhaps 100,000 converts in the U.K. at the moment."

Winter became a Muslim after exploring some of the world's great faiths and what he described as "the usual kind of teenage late-night soul searching." He entered Cambridge as a "freelance monotheist," searching for the right spiritual path.

Following his undergraduate career, Winter went on to live in the Middle East for seven years to learn more about his newfound faith. Upon returning to Britain, Winter began his multifaceted career working with the British Muslim community, first "on the preaching circuit" in English mosques, then by beginning his own film production company, which produces lectures for "Islamic TV stations here and some other features as well."

The role models Winter looked up to in his life and career included prominent early English Muslim converts such as Lord Stanley, who in 1869 became the first Muslim member of the House of Lords, and Abdullah Quilliam, who founded England's first mosque in Liverpool in 1889.

Discussing British identity, Winter argued that there had been a "post-imperial unravelling" of British identity. Winter said that income inequality particularly was an increasing problem in British society: "One percent of the British population owned more assets than the poorest 55 percent of the British population."

Such uncertainty is creating a space for the rightwing in Europe.  While Europe's identity is actually being eroded by globalization, Hollywood, and McDonalds, he explained, people have focused on the visibly different Muslims. This is alarming because Europe has a "dark side," and has historically been less tolerant than other societies: "The Middle East was historically much more tolerant than traditional Europe."

The British Muslim community is a success story in many ways. The mosques are packed everywhere, which must mean we’re doing something right

Winter noted that the number of converts has increased in the United Kingdom-remarkably, even as "public attitudes toward Islam have hardened." As dean of the Cambridge Muslim College, Winter works to ensure that top graduates are fully engaged with British society and are able to "relate religion to the modern world" and bridge "Islamic traditionalism and Western post-modernity." Students are taught British classic literature beginning with Beowulf and including the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare. Interfaith engagement is also a major pillar of the work of the College and students make an annual visit to the Vatican where they meet the Pope and stay in a monastery.

Speaking of the challenges facing the Muslim community, Winter said, "The mosques are full, but the message in the mosques is not always ideal.... there's a sense of disconnect, a hiatus, between the discourse of the leadership and what the masses actually need."

Winter was also concerned about the manner in which the British state has interacted with and antagonized the Muslim community, and how this has influenced Muslims' interactions with the state, religious scholarship, and wider society. He is particularly worried about British Muslim youth, who he said "feel misrepresented, disenfranchised, bullied, alienated from many of the things that the state is doing."

Still, Winter said, "The British Muslim community is a success story in many ways. The mosques are packed everywhere, which must mean we're doing something right. The community's growing very fast, establishing itself economically, and creating an increasingly positive relationship with existing state and non-governmental agencies within society."

As a convert from the Anglican Church, Winter said one striking difference between the faith traditions he has noticed is the striking contrast between the pomp and circumstance of the Church and the simplicity of Islam. As a Muslim, he greatly values the faith's adherence to "A pure monotheism which allows me to revere all the founders of the monotheistic faiths: Islam is inclusive, and uncompromising; pure prophecy."

When asked how relations between Muslims and non-Muslims can be improved, Winter said that Muslims need to stand up for themselves and look to the core values of Islam and in doing so they can help Europe. "We're already an indispensable part of what makes Europe work," he said."If we can move that forward so that we become the great harbingers of ethics and compassion and neighbourliness, in an increasingly atomized and self-oriented, materialistic Europe, then I think we'll have justified our presence here."

Winter also urged "Muslim communities.... to engage more with the political process to try and reduce the danger of further British military adventures in the Middle East which usually result in instability and a growth in extremist recruitment."

Akbar Ahmed is an author, poet, filmmaker, playwright, and is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University in Washington, D.C. He formerly served as the Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland.

Source: dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/22-Jul-17/muslim-converts-1-dr-tim-winter

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-the-west/akbar-ahmed/muslim-converts--1-—-dr-tim-winter--‘islam-is-inclusive,-and-uncompromising;-pure-prophecy’/d/112131


  • Gholam Hussain Sahab,

    I agree with you that NAI should not be a public toilet for dropping the shit (bizarre and grotesque materials) in Islamic theology, singling out Islam for retaining shits in its theological discourses – as such materials and even more obnoxious stuff can be found in theological discourses of other religions as well. The real problem, however, is, if the shit dominates the minds of some Liberal Muslims, they drop it in the public places and earn warm applauds from those who are out to malign Islam. And since the shit in Islamic theology also permeates the worldview of some extremist Muslims, Islam is caught between the devil and deep blue sea. 

    From a different practical angle, if Islamic scholarship has taken such a lowly turn that a person of Prof. Naim's status apparently finds no problem with Irshad Manji's demonization of Islam by substituting the original Pact of Umar with a forged version that appeared some five centuries later, and picks at a non-material illustration in my article exposing her fraudulent / ignorant substitution; and a Western educated Muslim scholar of Islam claims that Muhammad won over Arabia through a long and violent struggle, Islamic scholarship has reached its nader and now at the mercy of the new Western converts. If someone says 2+2 = 5 and is cheered as a maths teacher, the fate of the students is well known.

    Coming to the role of NAI, it must advise its staffs to delete patently offensive words like calling anyone son of a bitch (that is a dog) or a worst still, a snake lying on the ground, or dumping an overdose of shit on its website that only reflects poorly on it.

    By muhammd yunus - 8/10/2017 9:17:13 PM

  • Yunus sahib,
    Scarcely known Islam-bashing factoids will be used by the enemies of Islam in their hate propaganda, but there is no reason why NAI should lend itself as a vehicle for such systematic,  persistent and perpetual hate campaigns.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/10/2017 12:23:50 PM

  • Dear Ghulam Mohiuddin Sahab.

    There are other ahadith as well that 99.9999% Muslims have never heard - but a lot of people in the West are hearing about them and getting increasingly concerned about the true character of Islam.

    The oddity of a religious custom is not based on statistics. If one Muslim man buries his new born girl alive, it is as grave as 1000 men doing it. If al-Azhar has the hideous hadith in its text book - it is as serious as thousand ulama quoting it - because the Internet will spread all that is grotesque and bizarre about living Islam and do the work of a thousand ulama. So the matter remains very grave indeed and reflects very poorly on the scholarship of our Ulama fraternity for retaining what is odd and hideous in Islam's secondary sources  and equally poorly on the liberal writers who repeatedly refer to them.

    By muhammd yunus - 8/9/2017 8:58:59 PM

  • Yunus sahib,
    I have no problems with those who want to leave Islam but Hats Off wants to linger and spew venom on those who are trying to shape a progressive and liberal Islam. Someone once said that Sultan Shahin sahib had invited him back to NAI! If that is so, it raises a lot of questions.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/9/2017 12:14:08 PM

  • Hats Off,
    Your trying to make hay out of an Al Azhar aberration that 99.9999% of Muslims have never heard about is typical of your mindless hate war against Islam and Muslims. The fact that NAI gives  free exposure to such rabid anti-Muslim hate propaganda should be a matter of concern for all readers of this website.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/9/2017 12:06:35 PM

  • mr. muhammd yunus proves the patriarchal feudal nature of islam when he implicitly endorses the father fixation of one quack psychiatrist and a quack IIt trained engineer.

    it appears that fathers can decide how islam will be defended based on whether they hate their own fathers or they hate mine.

    good luck.

    By hats off! - 8/9/2017 9:32:33 AM

  • with his last comment mr. muhammad yunus joins the ranks of western educated quack psychoanalysts obsessed with father figures while entirely blotting out the mother figure.

    go figure!

    By hats off! - 8/9/2017 6:55:55 AM

  • Dear Ghulam Mohiuddin Sahab,

    Your Islam is based on the positive impression you gained as you grew up at home. I am sure your Dad or Mom did not give you any lecture on the goodness of Islam. You saw it with your own eyes in the day to do unfolding of its tenets. So you are defending it. But those Muslims who may have been exposed to Mr. Hyde part of Islam as practiced - born in families that are infested with its theological cancer - see only the puss and venom of its blisters. So have patience with them and pray for them. 

    By muhammd yunus - 8/9/2017 5:31:29 AM

  • it is very assuring to know from "moderate" muslims that 1) instructions for cannibalizing kaffirs is a mole hill. 2) killing apostates is another mole hill 3) gloating about reverts while killing apostates is a mole hill.

    from other "moderates" it is nice to know 1) sex slavery is a good thing for women POWs 2) extorting jizya is a kind thing 

    if these are moderates, god help us with extremists.

    By hats off! - 8/9/2017 2:56:36 AM

  • Hats Off is making a mountain out of a molehill. Doesn't he have anything better to do?

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/8/2017 10:39:20 PM

  • can mr. akbar ahmed write an article about a muslim who converted to buddhism or fire-worship?

    he cannot. because islam demands the death of anyone who apostasises.

    sitting the liberal communities of the west he shamelessly crows and croons about some damnfool "revert" while completely turning a blind eye to the routine harassment of those who would like to get out of the shackles of islam.

    how many islamic nations allow christian missionaries? how many islamic nations have blasphemy laws? how many islamic nations permit building of churches and synagogues? but that is the shameful secret of islam. demanding freedom to preach and convert while killing those who would like to get out of the strangle hold islam has on them. destroying the freedom of conscience in islamic countries while aggressively promoting ill-mannered dawah in western liberal nations.

    By hats off! - 8/8/2017 7:16:30 PM

  • Poor Hats Off is totally shaken by this story of conversion! He has to dig deep in his bag of dirt to come up with something to buttress his narrative of hate against Islam!

    The story by the way is not as significant as Akbar Ahmed claims nor is it as trashable as Hats Off would like it to be.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/8/2017 12:44:55 PM

  • Than what Anjem Choudhry is doing, 
    Authores try to prove that people convert to Islam as British fault of income disparity. It is the British freedom that allowed to convert not the Islam is the only answer for the soul.
    If Arab and Muslim countries had allowed same free will, situation would have been different.
    Muslims hypocrates writers always forget that at foundation of conversation is freedom in western society that  made possible to conversion ,not fearful Arab and Islamic country and Islamic kids born out of wedlock.
    If this freedom is given in Islamic society, Mr Ahmed will also see opposite as well, because every human is different and different version of believing in God will start to manifeste in human mind.

    But Abhrahmic hypocrates are putting one pills in human mind by force( tactic of putting force has change but aim had never been change).
    Abdul Wahab would had not have review as per him Arabs were again fallen into shirk practise, and said and whabi thug combo took that freedom of believing in God as per human will was taken back again.
    Muslim never respect freedom given by other societies, which allow to propagate their relgion.
    Narcissis collect more Narcissis

    By Aayina - 8/8/2017 10:13:04 AM

  • it would be very informative to know if dr. tim winter ever came across a text book at the al azhar library that teaches the correct way of eating an unbeliever's flesh.

    and if he did what his reaction to that text was. and whether he asked his teaching faculty about it.

    if he is not aware of such a thing, i can always send him the url to the egyptian tv talk show.

    By hats off! - 8/8/2017 6:18:34 AM

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