By Farzana Versey
27 July, 2008
The term British Islam has been used quite a bit in the past many months. There is no American Islam, Indian Islam or even Saudi Islam. Does religion need to have a nationality?
An organisation that is as yet nameless has been set up by the government of
Since when have women’s rights become solely “key British Muslim issues”? And how does one ensure that an organisation that is to be promoted by the government will teach loyalty and responsibility to the country without prejudice?
This is the same country that has ‘outsourced’ torture of its citizens of Muslim origin to
Incidents of abductions of Muslims in
Human rights and other such groups do talk about this being “unacceptable”. Will they raise their voices against the ridiculous government-sponsored attempts to make Islam conform to their idea of nationalism and patriotism?
Why is Islam being singled out? One of the spokespersons of the group said, “We need to encourage and create safe places for sensible debate around issues that extremists can seek to exploit and make sure that young British Muslims recognise their faith teaches shared citizenship values.”
Extremists, of the Islamic persuasion or of any religion and ideology, do not follow the dictates of that faith or ideology to further their agenda. And if they knew their faith then they would not need to be taught what is there. Predictably, there has been a reaction from an Islamic group, Hizb ut-Tahrir, whose spokesman Taji Mustafa stated, “It is a supremacist war that aims to force one system, capitalism, and secular liberal values on the whole world.” As someone rightly pointed out, this is a “transparent ploy to create a British state-sponsored Islam”.
There is cockiness in such transparency. It is almost as militant in its motives as any terrorist activity. Is this merely an attempt to ensure that a radical version of Islam does not reach these people or is it exclusionist in its intent? And what is
This is extreme xenophobia. Would any westerner be in a position to define this way of life? Is it uniform throughout Europe,
Of the 1.6 million British Muslims, how many do not understand what their citizenship entails? If you are teaching them about duties, then how about teaching the government and its satellite bodies about their rights? Do Muslims in the
If 600 of
He got hold of all the right-sounding secularists and roped in the general secretary of the Jamiat-ul Ulema-I-Hind, Maulana Mahmood Madani. The ad man and the mullah sat in the plush environs of his house. He told Madani, “…a fatwa carried weight, and created a buzz. I recalled how Imam Khomeini’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie hit the headlines. I wanted similar publicity for the anti-terrorism fatwa”.
This is utterly shameful and also ironic. People who call themselves liberals and oppose the edict against Rushdie now see in it the potential for a marketing gimmick.
All those placards carried by skull-capped Muslims (as though there aren’t any other types) saying “Islam means peace” and “Terrorism is the enemy of Islam” were the result of this exercise in creating a buzz. What is worse is that a man not known to align himself with religion got onto the bandwagon. And rather patronisingly he tutored the maulvi that, “like Martin Luther, he should talk of a dream: to stop Islam from being maligned’’.
People who are in charge of selling soap with models in bikinis under waterfalls are now telling us about how to save the fair name of Islam. This is as Occidental as it can get.
It appears to be all right for the westernised elite to play the ingratiating Uncle Tom while at the same time being blindly worshipped by the Muslim ‘intelligentsia’ for puerile utterances. However, if the non-intelligentsia are blind believers of a holy book, then all hell breaks loose. And who is this group that comprises of the intelligentsia? Why do they not have anything to say for themselves? Does it not strike them as odd that they would not garner much space, forget respect, for holding the very same views as the fake liberal sympathiser?
Returning to the question of ‘British Islam’, it is so easy to exercise control given that most Muslims are located in specific areas. Why then is there the need to flaunt citizenship and loyalty issues when the government, the police force, and the judiciary wallow in callousness and corruption and can co-opt the people?
Late last year, Oldham town opened its doors to what was referred to as
This will probably warm the ale in the hearts of many a Briton: a stereotype that works within the parameters set by the system. These are the readymade slaves that the new organisation is looking for to educate about British nationalism and anti-terrorism. How precious it is to know that the man whose name today is synonymous with such fanatical activities and who made the cave so hip and 21st century a dwelling spent hours not in a halal pub but with a glass of Campari.
Farzana Versey is the author of A Journey Interrupted: Being Indian in