Why we Muslims just don't get it

Shafiq's picture

This article represents the view of the author only. It discusses sensitive issues which undoubtedly have various perspectives. The author is expressing his own perspectives on the issues below and he is in his right to do so. We sincerely ask people to respect other people's opinions as the University is an environment where such views can be aired in a safe manner with appropriate decorum. The article below is meant to open up discussion on the issue, so please feel free to comment below, as we encourage fruitful and positive discussion which should benefit us all.

Sat 8 Jun - Just to clear up any confusion about my gender, I'm a guy.

It's been just over a week since the Woolwich killing. If you hadn't heard about it until just now, you're probably not going to be interested in the rest of this post.

The British Muslim reaction to the killing started off well, with unanimous condemnation of the attacks, disowning of the attackers, and us making it pretty clear that we were as horrified by it as the rest of the country.

'Great!' I thought. 'We're finally starting to get it.'

That feeling didn't last.

It all started going downhill a couple of hours later, with the following quote, 'only savage fanatics use machetes; civilised people kill with drones and cruise missiles.' The little Internet research I did on this quote suggests it originated from Ben White who isn't Muslim, but it was widely posted by lots of Muslims on various social networks. Yes, the sentiment behind the statement may be true[1], but was it really necessary to post it everywhere? A lot of people reading it would have sighed and thought,

″Oh, there go the Muslims again. They've managed to spin even this story into a 'we are the victims' cry.″

Then you had the argument about semantics - "Why call it terrorism, when it's really murder / a hate crime?" Again, is arguing semantics really necessary? Does it being labelled a hate crime make it any less horrific? All this from the outside looks like desperate gesturing to detract attention from what happened.

Then finally, you got the complaints about Muslims being targeted; by the government who want to intervene more extensively in our activities (especially at universities), and by parts of the public who say they are sick of Muslims. Well, duh! These people claimed to carry out the attacks on behalf of the Muslim Ummah.

Yes, every religion has its fair share of extremists but there's no denying that we're over-represented in the crazy department, and we have almost a total monopoly on the violent types.

These attackers were converts to Islam, which means they were taught Islam by members of our own community. Terrorists don't wake up one day and decide they want to kill lots of non-Muslims - their journey to violence starts with the very way they (and we) are taught about Islam and the world around us.

Our whole world is split into Muslim and non-Muslim. We're quick to raise money for Muslim-majority countries in sub-Saharan Africa, but raising money for non-Muslim majority states? Meh[2] - unless of course, something really bad happens like the Haiti earthquake.

Secondly, we (Muslims in the west) have become adept at tying everything wrong with the Muslim world back to Western colonialism / imperialism:

  • Lack of democracy in the Middle East? Western-backed dictators
  • Any crazy story from Saudi Arabia? American support for the regime
  • Al-Qaeda / The Taliban? Funded by the CIA in the 1980s
  • The Iraq body count? The Allied invasion of 2003
  • Palestine? Western support for Israel

This world-view is the first step on a conveyor belt that quickly turns into hatred for Western governments, then anything Western, and before you know it, you've got a violent Jihadi on your hands. It's easy for people to think that way when we've been conditioned to see the world as them vs. us.

The idea that 'the West' is to blame for all the ills of the Ummah is convenient because it absolves Muslims around the world of any responsibility for it. We were quite happy with the authoritarian regimes in Iraq, Syria and Libya because they opposed the West and we only turned on them when they started killing their own people (how is that any better than what Western governments did with their own favoured dictators?). We like to point back to the 1980s but conveniently turn a blind eye to the implicit support the Taliban gets from our heroes like Imran Khan. We like to blame the US for Iraq but the vast majority of deaths were as a result of Muslims killing other Muslims. And whilst terrorism in the UK is bad, terrorism against Israelis is secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) supported[3].

'The West' is a convenient bogeyman but the reality is, WE are responsible for the bulk of the bad stuff that happens to 'the Ummah' we claim to care so much about. We indulge in this delusion even though it's resulting in so much harm on our community.

So back to the original point - YES, we are partly responsible for the likes of Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo.

Groups like the EDL enjoy more support than they should because a lot of people know this. We were able to fool people for a long time with meaningless statements like 'Islam means peace' or with a quote from the Qur'an. But that doesn't work any more.

People who dislike Islam and Muslims don't care what the Qur'an does or doesn't say - they see with their own eyes Muslims killing people around the world, including other Muslims. They see statements like 'behead those who insult Islam' and 'Islam will dominate the world' bandied about by their compatriots - pretty scary stuff I'm sure you'd agree. They see us going to mass rallies when Israel starts bombing Gaza but hear and see very little when it comes to violence from Muslims, beyond a few statements of condemnation. And even that doesn't last long - we soon bring out our excuses, arguments and distractions (as described above).

People in the EDL aren't idiots. They see right through our double standards. They know that we're all too willing to condemn others but not as much when bad actions are by people from our own community, even though we are better able to do something about the latter. They may not be able to articulate their message very well, but that doesn't mean theirs isn't a legitimate one.

It's our responsibility to ensure the country is comfortable with our presence here. If they're not, it's a failing of ours and not theirs. I've all too often heard complaints about the influx of Somalian asylum seekers in places like Leicester, or the increasing number of Eastern European migrants in Dewsbury. And these come from the very same people who expect white British people to be completely accepting of the large number of Muslims who now live in Britain. This is despite us having had a much bigger impact on the culture of the country than any other group of people - mainly due to the sheer number of us Muslims.

We're quick to go on the defensive when people protest the building of a new Mosque[4] or call for the hijab to be banned, but are sheepishly silent when places of worship are attacked by Muslims.

And it's not just the stereotypical white, working class person who has issues with Muslims. There are lots of people up and down the country who are tired of what they see as our constant whining. Some of us are actively calling for the government to intervene in Syria whilst others are actively discouraging it. Some of us were happy we intervened in Libya but then changed our mind and decided it was all an imperialist plot to gain control of the country's oil supplies. Shiites support intervention in Bahrain but not Syria whereas for Sunnis it's the opposite. We can't agree between ourselves whether our government should intervene in these countries, but we do agree that somehow all of it is 'the West's' fault!

And why is it that we care about Muslim women getting raped in far flung places across the world, but care less so when it's white British girls getting raped in the UK by Muslims?

When people make this point, we're quick to shout 'Racist!' or 'intolerance'. But I've heard far more shocking things come out from the mouths of fellow Muslims, about Jews and gay people, than I've read on the pages of right-wing groups.

We're a bunch of hypocrites. We want all the benefits of living in a liberal democracy without any of the responsibilities or sacrifices. This couldn't have been illustrated any better than during the debate about gay marriage, where you had near universal condemnation of the bill from Muslims[5]. We strongly condemn any government attempt to interfere in our private affairs by banning us from wearing a hijab or a niqab, but we have no problem telling the government to interfere in the private affairs of others by preventing them from getting married. Seriously, how does two gay people getting married negatively affect the rest of us in any way?[6]

Now, the points I've mentioned above don't apply to every single Muslim I've met, but almost all of us are guilty of failing to deal with these issues amongst our family, friends and community.

Until we deal with our dual standards, the current animosity towards Muslims will be completely justified. So more of this please

Disclaimer

These are my personal views and not those of Leeds ISoc (different people in ISoc will have different views). I published it here for three reasons:

  1. I've been asked for a long time to write a blog post and I've finally got round to writing one.
  2. During my time at Leeds ISoc, I tried hard to make it a more open society where anyone felt comfortable joining. What better way to help that process along than airing some pretty frank views here?
  3. I intend my post to be read by other Muslims. I'm not one of those who is simply writing in national newspapers what others want to hear, with the hope of getting a pat on the back (and maybe some money too). Nor am I someone who says one thing in front of the camera or in one context, but completely different things in other contexts.[7]

You can comment below or if you want to contact me by email, any sent to shafiq@leedsisoc.com will be forwarded to my personal email account.



[1] Or it may not be, I don't care.

[2] Take Islamic Relief for example. Their website shows which countries they largely operate in. How many IR projects give aid to non-Muslims living in non-Muslim majority countries?

[3] Before you start going, 'b-b-b-but, what about the Israeli occupation of Palestine? The open-air prison that's Gaza, yada, yada yada,' STOP! None of that justifies killing people.

[4] What is the difference between protesting against a new mosque and this?

[5] Barelvis and Deobandis agreeing on something. Who'd have thought it?

[6] When I showed this post to friends, the first thing most of them commented on was this paragraph. They sympathised with my view but didn't see how it was relevant to the rest of it, and thought it would alienate many Muslims reading it. But that's the point I'm trying to make. We haven't understood that the principle behind both of them are the same - Governments shouldn't be in the business of intervening in the personal lives of its citizens when their actions don't affect anyone else. People who aren't Muslim often wonder how we can, with a straight face, ask for tolerance of our beliefs whilst calling for others to be denied that same tolerance?

We haven't realised it yet, but the debate has moved on from whether Muslims support violent terrorism or not, to whether our beliefs are compatible with the country's liberal values. The debate is about whether we're truly embracing liberalism, or whether we're just taking advantage of the rights it affords us.

You're allowed to believe that gay marriage is wrong. Actively campaigning against it suggests we have our priorities wrong. Threatening Muslim MPs who vote in favour of gay marriage IS wrong (and illegal).

[7] Not the best example. I got the following email early this morning:

Dear Shafiq
Salam

It has been brought to my attention that you have written a piece entitled "why we Muslims just don't get it" in which you have hyperlinked a piece I wrote about Bangladeshi journalist. I would be grateful if you could explain to me the link between my piece and your article. I just couldn't see the connection. One was about incident in the UK and the other was about twisted journalism of some Bangladeshi journalist.

Thank you

To which I replied:

Salaam,

The criticism I was trying to make was that there was a mismatch between your public reaction to the Woolwich killings and your reaction to recent events in Bangladesh (such as the Shabag protests).

Calling the Shabag 'secular fundamentalists' amongst other things and dismissing their motivations behind their protests, is extreme. As far as I can see the protests itself were non-violent, unlike the JI response. And they enjoy the sympathies of a large portion of the Bangladeshi population. The death penalty isn't something I'd support, but the violence that took place during the 1971 war was serious, and very few people (if any) have been taken to justice for what happened.

Nevertheless, I've just read other posts on your Facebook page and I believe I was unduly harsh with my criticism of you. For that, I'm sorry.

 

Comments

Anonymous's picture

Amazing!

Anonymous's picture

If what you suggest is what Muslims need to 'get', Alhamdulillah most of us never will.

Anonymous's picture

utter tripe and codswallop

Anon's picture

your a very confused man!

Anonymous's picture

Lol... Thanks for this. I'm gonna slap your cousin for sending me this link. What a waste of tine. Trying to sound intelligent but coming out with nonsense... May Allah protect you.

john@mi5.com's picture

Firstly, I have got to give you the respect for taking the time out to write this post but there's a few points I take issue with:

I agree that the initial response of British Muslims was good in condemning the attack, however the notion that we were playing the victims is a contentious one. ‘Oh there go the muslims again…’ why is it acceptable to condemn the Woolwich attacks and show how we are upset by them, yet it is unacceptable to condemn attacks that have affected us elsewhere? Does showing concern for our brothers and sisters elsewhere diminish our concern for our brother Rigby? If you say it wasn’t the right time to mention this, I feel the exact opposite; those people are also being murdered as we speak. The attacks in Woolwich created a platform to voice our opinions on murders elsewhere which we are equally upset by. Just like muslims have a responsibility to portray our views on Woolwich so we are not misunderstood, we also have a responsibility to highlight our views on murders elsewhere. We condemn murder outright, and we do not express this view to please people; it is our belief.

Secondly, it is absolutely necessary to argue semantics, especially due to the implications of stereotypes associated with these labels; something that cannot be underestimated. In 2003 a local brother of mine was stabbed to death by a group of BNP because he was a ‘terrorist’, as he had the same skin as those who carried out 9/11. You may call it semantics, but the implications of these words run far, far deeper, and this is why it is vital that we differentiate between terrorism and hate crime. The Woolwich murder was most clearly a hate crime by a mentally unstable man, and labelling the man a muslim terrorist adds fire to this hate. This in turn leads to more problems for the muslim community, even though both Michaels were not representing the views or thoughts of any muslim I have come across. Indeed labelling it a hate crime does NOT make it any less horrific, and you may assume it’s a gesture to detract from what happened, but I hope now you can see the importance of labelling a hate crime as it should be.

Also, I disagree with the idea that crimes being perpetrated “supposedly” on behalf of muslims gives the government a right to spy on our private lives. Again the Woolwich murder was by a lunatic that does not represent the majority of Muslims, so why should we happily surrender our rights and our private life? If we follow this logic then every priest should give up their rights and allow the government to spy on them. You mentioned those people that raped Caucasian young girls, yet Caucasian males have the highest charges for rape in the UK, so then according to your opinion should all Caucasian males willingly give up their rights and have their personal life invaded? Obviously this is ridiculous and so I hope this emphasises my point that the Woolwich murder does not reflect the viewpoint of the majority of Muslims. Yes we may disagree with some of the policies of the UK especially their foreign policies but in no way or form do we support the harm of others irrespective of race of religion.

You say we almost have a monopoly on the violent types again that is untrue. Just because the media gives that angle on the situation does not mean it is true. We are relatively low on the terrorism scale when compared to historical records of actual terrorist attacks. Unfortunately scaremongering about out-groups such as muslims sells much more. So labelling a hate crime by a lunatic as a terrorist attack sells a lot more papers than the truth. Even though he stated it was in the name of Allah, we all know this is against our beliefs, and it could easily be argued he is mentally unstable.

It’s true even in Middle Eastern media where the out group are western individuals. An example of this media bias is demonstrated recently where an American soldier killed 14 civilians in Afghanistan, mainly women and children. He wasn’t labelled a terrorist but a soldier that had lost his mind and was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress. That could easily be sold as a terrorist attack but it is not in western media because he’s not a Muslim. There is a very clear bias by the media and it’s simply because it sells (not because they have an anti-Islamic agenda as some people think).

I do agree with you about our community and the issues we have within our community. It is a real shame that we do not make more of an effort when it comes to non-Muslim issues. I was considering organising a run for the money to go to a charity linked to John Rigby, maybe that is something the ISOC could set-up.

We do pay too much attention to these conspiracy theories, but there is some truth to them. However, the best thing we can do is to focus on our character and project the true beauty of Islam and emulate the characteristics of our beloved prophet Muhammad (ﷺ.). That being said I think this is a good point to end my reply. I have only managed to comment on about half your post (up to the paragraph about the Haiti earthquake), there are other points I disagree with and some points I do agree with, but I think this is a long enough reply for now. I had no intention of disrespecting you Shafiq, so if I have I do apologise.

JazakAllah khayr wa MaSalaama

John
MI5 Leeds Division

Shafiq's picture

Salaam,

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and reply respectfully; it’s really appreciated.

The reason I accused us of ‘playing the victims’ is because I felt we made comparisons with Afghanistan and Iraq as a way of diminishing the gravity of what happened in Woolwich. The quote I specifically referred to did that in an especially insensitive way.

I’m actually of the opinion that hate crimes have a greater propensity to fuel communal tensions than terrorist attacks, which is why the fall out from this has been bigger than after the 7/7 attacks. Ultimately, how it’s labelled in newspapers or on TV is irrelevant; people will decide for themselves what to call it by their gut reaction.

I’m not claiming the attack justifies infringements on civil liberties, but I can see why governments (wrongly) come that as a solution. A lot of people believe (me included) that our distorted view of world politics makes going from where we are now, to where the two Michaels ended up, quite easy.

In my lifetime at least, we have had almost a total monopoly on religious violence (which is what I referred to in my post). There are a few notable exceptions such as the current violence in Burma and the Gujarat riots, hence my use of the word almost.

What I’d like to see personally is us conducting ourselves in a way similar to those who made the migration to Abyssinia; so that our presence here is greeted enthusiastically rather than questioned.

Anonymous's picture

"Again the Woolwich murder was by a lunatic that does not represent the majority of Muslims"
There were two of them... Are you saying, they were both mentally unstable?

Anonymous's picture

Sorry, wrong box.

Anonymous's picture

"Again the Woolwich murder was by a lunatic that does not represent the majority of Muslims"
There were two of them... Are you saying, they were both mentally unstable?

M Arif Ali's picture

Updated:

This is a very interesting article, even though there are some issues i don't agree with, i appreciate the time taken out to open up discussions on this topic.

However it seems some of you guys missed the disclaimer above, it was posted there for a reason. As muslims we are supposed to have the right mannerism, even when we disagree. By coming out with inappropriate one-liners or threatening violence against anyone does not help. Especially when others will be reading this, it shows muslims as the stereo-typical intolerant people as portrayed by the media.

If you can't control yourself, don't comment. It doesn't help, and the discussion just becomes stagnant and rude instead of being fruitful. You’ll actually end up doing more harm than good. If you’re trying to be intimidating, it’s a futile attempt and it’s not working. Differences of opinion within the muslim community can be a form of mercy, we need to harness that effectively to use it for something positive.

If this is something your passionate about please share with us your thoughts about the problems within the Muslim community and what you are or what your plans are for solving these issues. Try to attack the points and not the person. If you're not not willing to understand the other persons point of view, how can you even contemplate to argue against it? As when the companions disagreed with each other or the prophet (saw) this was their example left for us. Below is an interesting transcript on the etiquette of disagreement. And also a in-depth article on how the salaf (pious predecessors) death with disagreement before us.

Pray this discussion can bring some benefit to us all, I have sent Shafiq my issues with his article personally.

http://sheikhhamza.com/transcript/Etiquettes-of-Disagreement
http://qa.sunnipath.com/issue_view.asp?HD=1&ID=12&CATE=30

john@mi5.com's picture

Just to clarify:

1. I am NOT an MI5 agent.
2. Totally agree with the last person to comment. If you do disagree with this article then share your thoughts in a constructive way that will benefit us all insha'Allah...but there's no gain in putting disrespectful statements.

John

Anonymous's picture

Such an article is afforded a lot, too much in fact, if the replies are not 'disrespectful'. Alhamdulillah that shows the rejection of such defeated ideas within the Ummah.

Anonymous's picture

Although you have some valid points about the lack of responsibility Muslims take for our problems, totally absolving the West of any wrong and the recognition of the state of Israel as a legitimate state as inferred by your blog is just too far.

I think maybe working for the Government has got to your or is this a feeble attempt to fit the label of 'moderate Muslim'?

Shafiq's picture

Salaam,

Thank you for taking the time to reply. The focus of my post was the things that we (as a community) do wrong. That doesn’t mean that I think British foreign policy is perfect, rather that our relentless focus on foreign policy has blinded us to what else is to blame.

I don’t recognise/not recognise Israel. I do recognise that there are people living there who call themselves Israelis, and that they have all the rights human beings ought to have (including the right not to be blown up). I also believe Pakistanis living on the border with Afghanistan have the same rights, which is why I don’t like drone attacks. What I don’t recognise, are any views that justify one or the other, or both.

Anonymous's picture

The idea that Palestinians are not partially responsible for the state they are in is silly and ignores self-evident facts. With all due respect brother/sister wearing the Palestinian question as an armor against critical thought not only harms you but downgrades the suffering of the Palestinian and Israeli people. Read Amos Oz for a 21st century solution and forgot the foolish idea that Israel will somehow magically vanish.

Anonymous's picture

Firstly, thanks for taking the time out to write this article. I believe it serves as a healthy platform for debate.

If you're getting at the matter that 'Muslims' do not represent the essence of Islam as a religion of peace (yes I said it), then i totally agree with you, because sadly if we look around us we are almost as far from the teachings of Islam than those who openly condemn and insult it.
But I have to say that I fail to agree with you on your black and white view of binary oppositions here. Your use of the term "West" is quite sporadic in the article. This makes me feel rather uncomfortable. What does this mean? What are the connotations here? The West by who and for whom? Is this the Occident that outright exploited the 'Orient'? Is this the 'West' of the likes of the Shah and Ataturk who denied Muslims their human and religious rights to freely practice their faith and were persecuted by brutal police mobs?
Its not as rigid as Us vs Them but you cannot isolate centuries long colonialism from said topic either.
What about the 95% of Muslim civilians who aren't blowing up things and the persecution they face from White supremacists etc (you don't acknowledge the prevalence of this either) ? And more precisely what about those Muslims who make up a majority, who are saddened and hurt by events such as Woolwich, and then further traumatised when the faculty of the 'West' greets them with hostility and puts them all in the "terrorist" bandwagon .
I agree with John, semantics are so important in this context- this is how stereotypes and prejudices amplify and thus encourages the same vicious cycle over and over again. Eg:
Innocent Muslim gets branded terrorist by the media/authorities/general public - he initially responds with confusion- this manifests into frustration- frustration manifests into anger- anger desensitises him thus translates into violence- he now actually is a terrorist.
Im not saying its as stubborn as that, nor justified in any way but that's part of my point anyway about semantics and its implications and a theory i support. And the media and its pot of funds are beasts- they only alienate Muslims and further us away from building the much needed ties both within and between communities.
Before reading your article earlier today, i read an article about a young female environmentalist killed on a beach in Costa Rica . I researched around a few articles and i still dont know about the race, ethnicity, religion of the murderers. As cliche as it may sound, the murderer clearly wasn't a Muslim as we would have known about this whilst the innocent's blood was still spilling.
Maybe its my misunderstanding but I find it odd that you fail to write about the media's active role in the disfranchisement of Muslims and how this broadens the dichotomies that we already face.

I agree that Muslims themselves need to work a hell of a lot around building bridges within the umbrella of Islam itself (Shia-Sunni, Black-Asian and so on) and only then can we properly and thoroughly have our presence here welcomed. But to justify the EDL on the grounds that we are a messed up breed is difficult to swallow.

Out of interest what steps do you think Muslims should take in order to 'get it'?

Shafiq's picture

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and reply. The focus of my post was on the failings of us as a community. I could have mentioned other failings but doing so here would have been preaching to the converted, and detracted from the point I’m trying to make – that we haven’t done anywhere near enough to recognise our responsibility here.

My use of the term ‘the West’ is meant to compare to how its used in everyday Muslim conversation, which as you know varies a lot. It can mean just the USA, or it can be pretty all encompassing, depending on what point we’re trying to make.

The 95% of us that aren’t terrorists are not persecuted either. The amount of religious freedom we have living here (in Britain) is quite unparalleled in history. I’ve not come across a single mainstream newspaper or news outlet claiming Muslims are collectively responsible for terrorist attacks. Politicians regularly come out and argue the exact opposite and you actually have Conservative ministers coming out and saying ‘banning the Hijaab would be un-British’. The vast majority of us are not victims here.

If can’t be that just a few pejorative labels is enough take someone from being innocent, and making them go on a cold-blooded rampage. If that is the case, we need to grow thicker skin. More likely though, there’s something else in the equation and that ‘something else’ is what we’re collectively responsible for - the us (victims) vs. them (oppressors) mentality.

Consider a parallel world where we Muslims were the victims of a terrorist attack like 7/7? Would our reaction have been as restrained?

The race and religion of criminals is only reported when it’s relevant to the crime they commit. It’s usually relevant for one of four reasons:

  1. Hate crimes (e.g. the murder of Stephen Lawrence)
  2. Terrorism
  3. Crimes carried out in the name of religion
  4. Crimes carried out by important religious people (e.g. child abuse by priests)

The EDL’s message isn’t purely one of hate, just like there are usually real grievances in the motivations behind a terrorist attack. That’s not justification, but the EDL does have a legitimate message, which I’ve described in the post.

What I’d like to see is three things:

  1. Us stop playing the victims.
  2. Us stop seeing the world as us vs. them
  3. For us to start caring as much about non-Muslims as we do Muslims
Anonymous's picture

Voice of reason, well done my friend excellent job. The comments section is riddled with false equivalencies and slippery slope fallacies, stop keeping your head in the sand brothers and sisters it is time to stop this dark, mad folly. We have allowed for too long this idiocy to continue.

Anonymous's picture

Assalam alaykum. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Universe. Amr bil Ma'ruf and Nahiyy anil Munkar, is why muslims must protest against gay marriage being legalised. Walhamdulillah, wa Sallillahumma wa sallim ala nabiyyina Muhammad.

Anonymous's picture

Such a pity. Even non-Muslims such as Ben White can be rational and managed to have some backbone while some Muslims have become mere hypocrites and boot-lickers.

"there's no denying that we're over-represented in the crazy department, and we have almost a TOTAL MONOPOLY on the violent types."

Lol. So brainwashed. This is what happens when you watch too much Fox news. Yes, Zionists who invaded another people's country and has murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people and continue to do so are definitely NOT violent. People who invaded Afganistan and Iraq and have shed so much innocent blood are definitely NOT violent.

P_H_I_L_L's picture

You don't get it do you? You cannot justify one atrocity of innocents by linking it to another, especially when the innocent victims are not linked in any way. You're just making an excuse for violence.

A. Chaudary's picture

Bismillaah -

Just a few disjoined points and rants..

I think when people are mentioning the invasions of Iraq and of Afghanistan and other examples of what many people see as State terror, such as by Israel, it is not to "justify one atrocity by linking it to another" but rather only as a reply to your saying that most violence has been by Muslims in your life time.

There is no doubt that those who have a twisted understanding of al Islam need to be re-educated, and those who indoctrinate them and or incite them to commit murder of civilians or even of soldiers within this land where there is agreement of peace and mutual respect, need to be dealt with severely.

Believe it or not there are many Muslims in the UK that have been doing the work mentioned above to counter extremism, for at least the past 25 years.

General Imams of Mosques and lay Muslims across Briton would debate and refute members of groups such as HT and Al Muhajiroon back in the mid 1990's when they first appeared here. Many Mosques even banned them from handing out any leaflets from Mosque premises and they were generally shunned by many within the Muslim community due to the groups heresy in doctrine and also political extremism.

Unfortunately the Media in the West has continued to be counter productive by irresponsibly plastering the likes of heretics such as Omar Bakri, Anjem Choudhary, Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada on to our TV screens for the past 15 years while mostly ignoring Senior orthodox Muslim Scholars from around the Globe and their Students in the UK who have been refuting their ideology in detail since before 9/11. I even believe that some youths only heard of the so called clerics' named above through the Media! << 'Great job guys'. Then we hear people say "Why are the mainstream Muslims quiet?" << We're not!!, but our speeches don't sell papers or increase TV viewers!

The extreme foreign policies of our and other Western Govt.s, along with the minority Muslim extremist and minority Far Right extremists are the problem! The general British public, including us Muslims have nothing to feel guilty for.

My last point is to mention is the sad fact that violence has and is still being carried out by many religious and none religious groups, and not just by those associated with Islam. These include:

The IRA's recent bombing & terror campaign in UK, which only recently ended, the Angry Brigade in 1970's, The Animal Rights Militia's bomb at Downing St, David Copeland an English Neo Nazi & BNP member who set off bombs in UK aimed at Black, Asian n Gay communities, the Hindu Tamil Group killing Christian & Muslim civilians even in our time, the Hindu RSS who are known to incite a Fascist for of Hinduism, the Sikh Khalistani Militant groups long term terrorism in India that only ended in 1990's, The Red Army Faction, ETA Basque separatist terrorism in Spain till which also only recently. In ancient times the Jewish Sicarii who were assassins, and mid 20th century Jewish groups committing acts of terror to facilitate independence, the Kach far-right Israeli movement member (Baruch Golden) who opened fire on unarmed Palestinian civilians praying inside the Ibrahim Mosque in 1994, Buddhist long term terrorizing & killing of Rohingya Muslim, Anders Breivik, the Christian White Supremacist terror attacks in Norway, 2011, Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber who was also Christian who committed the worst attack on USA soil at the time, as well as the atrocity by David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, which descend from a schism in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

subhaana kala huma wabi hamdika ash-hadu anlaa illaa ha illa ant, astaghfiruka wa atubo ilaik.

Anonymous's picture

Please, please, please, stop this crazy relativism; I can't believe you're so deluded that you'd actual list the below as a way to mitigate the countless atrocities committed by adherents of Islam while shouting "Allah is greater"; this mindset shows clearly why the author wrote this blog!

The IRA's recent bombing & terror campaign in UK, which only recently ended, the Angry Brigade in 1970's, The Animal Rights Militia's bomb at Downing St, David Copeland an English Neo Nazi & BNP member who set off bombs in UK aimed at Black, Asian n Gay communities, the Hindu Tamil Group killing Christian & Muslim civilians even in our time, the Hindu RSS who are known to incite a Fascist for of Hinduism, the Sikh Khalistani Militant groups long term terrorism in India that only ended in 1990's, The Red Army Faction, ETA Basque separatist terrorism in Spain till which also only recently. In ancient times the Jewish Sicarii who were assassins, and mid 20th century Jewish groups committing acts of terror to facilitate independence, the Kach far-right Israeli movement member (Baruch Golden) who opened fire on unarmed Palestinian civilians praying inside the Ibrahim Mosque in 1994, Buddhist long term terrorizing & killing of Rohingya Muslim, Anders Breivik, the Christian White Supremacist terror attacks in Norway, 2011, Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber who was also Christian who committed the worst attack on USA soil at the time, as well as the atrocity by David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas, which descend from a schism in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Anonymous's picture

The West went into Iraq and Afghanistan to defeat dictators and extremists and were supported in that by many of the Muslim population. They are still being asked to stay and secure Afghanistan and are still taking casualties.

Anonymous's picture

Yes they went to remove the extremists that they themselves encouraged to grow in order to defeat the soviet, and they went to remove the tyrants that they themselves placed into power n with whom they did business while the tyrant was being tyrannical n oppressive to the general muslim population.

During this time (the past 10 years) the West took advantage of the big business opportunities in re-building the country and much more. The point is that even after the colonial days the West has not stopped meddling all over that region in the background and still are.

Anonymous's picture

Brother, your entitled to your own opinion I respect that. In terms of leeds isoc- iI support the diverse views it holds as it represents a diverse cohort of people. What I feel on the matter is simple: certain actions carried out by muslims means that he media have created an image of what it means to e Muslim, and as a Muslim we have to fight that image constantly.

As Muslims, we accept we have issues in our community - as does any other social group that exists in any community. We live in a time where a scholar cannot post a tweet or fb update without two people arguing over how he spelt a word or how saying hello is haram... (Obviously that's an exaggeration- I hope)! Due to the mix of views people hold- we are boys to face clashes. With Islam constantly in the limelight for negative things you immediately give it negative connotations- so I get why people think that.

Unfortunately, what about the rest of us who are not violent? Surely we ate stronger in number? And I know you are not saying that we are all violent- but your implying we have to feel somewhat responsible for what happened in London? Do I deserve to be called a terrorist by a group of boys and girls whilst going about my own shopping? Because it happened- and being myself I just let it go. Could I have said something, maybe, but I don't deserve it because we have some Muslims who carry out acts of terror? I couldn't terrorise a fly- yet I am just a different shade of the same colour in the eyes of some. I would never agree with 'yes it was wrong but what about Iraq....' Because you can never justify one killing by another - or even take sympathy from it. But the problem is the label you give it- why is the same act -'terrorism' in one scenario and an act of insanity in another?
Are we really living in a world where we worry more about who did the killing, before we can categorise how to mourn the innocent persons death?

Some people justify killing in the name of God- others in the name of democracy or honour- the thing that disturbs me is how can any sane human justify the act of killing an innocent being at all? Terrorism or killing for democracy or honour is a human problem- not a Muslim problem.

Anonymous's picture

Salam.

To an extent I think you're right. As Muslims we finally need to have a long hard look at ourselves and see where we have gone wrong. Personally speaking I see Islamic education as incomplete. No form of education should ever lead to the horrifying acts of last week. Whilst British foreign policy is disastrous and shares partial blame for these incidents why did we not all engage in unspeakable acts like this? Probably because our Islamic education has been good alhamdolilah unlike that of the murderers. Those who are partially educated fall in this trap. As Muslims this is no-one's fault but ours.

It's always a poor excuse to claim that there is " a conspiracy against Islam" or the "non Muslims are out to get us" and we need to rectify our own problems as Muslims at a grass roots level i.e Mosques and Islamic schools etc...
But personally speaking I disagree when you are talking about terrorists. Unfortunately the word terrorist does seem to be reserved for Muslims at this day and age. It is frustration that Brehvik the Norwegian man was "insane" when he killed 70 kids and the man 3 weeks ago who murdered an elderly Asian man in Birmingham because he "wants to send a threat to Muslims" were murderers but not terrorists.The atrocities committed whilst very wrong indeed clearly had very strong political undertones and were targeted at innocent civilians hence they were terrorists. The frustaration I feel when I find out these guys were insane or just youth criminals rather than terrorists is immense.

Personally speaking as well I don't like the idea of continuously apologising for these acts. I see it as necessary to stop Islamophobia so it has to be done. But this is not a crime we have committed. Whilst it can be argued that we are partially responsible for poor education and letting the Muslim youth "fall by the wayside" and not catering for them ensuring the become easy targets to extremist groups two nutters committing this act is neither my fault nor yours in all fairness. It is more to ensure these crimes are not traced back to us and to completely disassociate Islam from them.

We remind ourselves that while it seems that we are contributing to society, it is not always in a good way. We have to strive to ensure that we contribute in a positive way.

I don't like the use of the word jihadi. Extremist is probably better (in my opinion). We all strive to please Allah in whatever we do therefore in a sense we are all jihadis. After all life for the sake of Allah and it's struggle is the greater jihad. Physical fighting for the sake of Allah (i.e death) is the lesser jihad.

But other than that well done on speaking out on something that needs to be spoken about.

Anon's picture

This is your comment at the very end "You're allowed to believe that gay marriage is wrong. Actively campaigning against it suggests we have our priorities wrong"

I agree we should not attack or threaten any MP's supporting gay marriage. We are however required (according a hadith in the following article) to actively campaign against it and other legislation than does not conform to divine decree through political means.

Read the following article hopefully it will help. Thank you

http://abdullahalandalusi.com/2011/07/16/was-the-prophet-muhammed-an-isl...

JazakAllah khayr wasalaama

Anonymous's picture

I'm speechless.

martin's picture

You, my friend, give me hope - thankyou.

english infidel's picture

very well said, you maybe a woman but you have bigger tess tickles than the so called leaders of the muslim faithfull and the so called leaders of this country. i fear nothing will be done and ur voice and opinion will be ignored by the masses. the long road we are currently on at is taking us to a cross roads and beyond that is civil war

Anonymous's picture

What an amazing summary of logical thought! Thank you for making such a sound, reasonable statement. Reading some of the responses saddens me, you should not let them get to you. You have a very humanitarian view that I wish more had.

Rebecca's picture

Congrats! A very brave and refreshing blog.

Anonymous's picture

Excellent post

Anonymous's picture

Total respect for this lady.

The African's picture

Brilliant article !!! if all muslims were like you there would be complete harmony in Britain,nobody wants confrontation and the majority of brits are peace loving and welcoming to all !!! I fear if nothing is done by your community to sort this mess out there will be major problems in the future ,,,,,,and thats no good for anybody.

auldshamam's picture

Bravo. I applaud your courage. I've been saying the same thing for several months now but coming from a non-Muslim doesn't mean much. If you care to, please take a look at my blog (especially the last three or four entries). Again, Bravo!!!

Mark's picture

Thanks for a refreshing outlook.

I'll explain what I've observed since the Woolwich murder, which should show some parallels with what you say. To explain, I am a non-religious, white (does that matter?), London-born, very tolerant bloke of 51 years. I feel the tolerance waning though, which worries me.

On social media, eg Twitter, writers/commentators etc who have a religious outlook (Christian or Muslim), forwarded artcles which had been written by Muslims that have generally three things: 1) Condolences for the murder, 2) Nothing to do with Islam, 3) A verse from the Quran about not killing.

Those with a non-religious outlook forwarded other articles written by Muslims, which have the following, 1) This IS a problem within Islam, 2) Armed Jihad is the problem, etc.

What I get from this, is that of course ordinary Muslims want to distance themselves from the terrorists and show solidarity with the family of the man who was murdered, but they have to defend the religion at all costs. A debate or discussion about any perceived problem within Islam is rejected, because they claim there is none.

This is annoying to a huge extent for someone like me (non-religious, trying to understand and looking in from the outside). Do they not realise that those who commit the crimes would say they are Muslims who are following the Quran correctly? Do they not realise that those who commit the crimes may well call the moderates non-Muslims, who are not practising correctly? The whole "This is not the 'right' Islam" can be claimed from both sides and is completely ridiculous.

So we end up with a circular argument. Some Muslim commentators deny Islam has a problem, while others say it has, and it seems there is no movement on debating it.

Using 'good' verses from the Quran is worthless to me. We might point out that the book has some pretty nasty verses as well, that these terrorists are following. I have seen Muslim commentators, who get airtime on TV and radio, flatly deny there are such verses, or they say it has to be read in Arabic to fully understand, or the texts are mis-interpreted or taken out of context. This, quite frankly is an insult to our intelligence.

As an aside, I'd have the same argument with Christians who cherry-pick good stuff from the Bible and either ignore, or try to explain away the bad bits.
I also find it ridiculous when Chritians of various extremes and moderation argue the others are not doing it right. So my criticism here is not confined to Islam.

So again, we stand scratching our heads about why they just cannot admit the book has stuff which, if you choose to, you can use for violence.

Thirdly, I have seen those same Muslim commentators who get airtime, turning the focus completely to the EDL. If I was cynical, I could say the fact the EDL went to Woolwich that night (what for is anyone's guess, apart from a random punch up), has been convenient to deflect focus away from the immediate Muslim problem, to a far-right problem.
Of course, the EDL have to be tackled and written about, and any physical attack against people by them or others is condemned, but to use them as a deflection is wrong.

Another thing I saw was a BBC program the Sunday after the Woolwich murder, which was The Big Questions. The discussion point was "What has the Muslim community done to combat extremism?" Firstly, a lady from the Islamic Society of Britain, suggested extremism "has been occurring a lot the last few nights," in reference to supposed attacks on Muslims, and went nowhere near Muslim extremism. I let that go because maybe she didn't have enough time before moving on to other guests. However, not much was suggested by others apart from one man who seemed to be shouted down or treated with derision. He was suggesting possible extreme Wahabi teachings in mosques as a problem, and that British Muslims should adopt a 'British Islam.' I was intriqued why he wasn't taken at all seriously, even as a debate point, so looked him up.
He turned out to be an 'Imam' at the Oxford Muslim Education Centre, who, amongst other things, supports getting rid of the niqab and women leading prayers in mosques. I could immediately see why the others were against him.

Adding all of this up, I am now confused as to what the regular 'moderates' I see on TV actually are. I am not saying they are extreme, but in their desperate attempts to defend Islam, they seem to be putting their heads in the sand, at the very least and looking less and less 'moderate'.

One more thing is the pushing of the term 'Islamophobic', which I'm sure has a real definition and purpose, but is being used at the drop of a hat, and can be used to stifle debate, and at worst, shame people by suggesting they are part of the far-right. this can be even for the slightest criticism of Islam or how extremism is being tackled.

In summary, I have seen denial and honesty from Muslim writers with a voice. I'm not sure which ones the Muslim communities want to be represented by. But certainly, they should all get together for an open debate and be prepared to tackle perhaps things they do not wish to hear.

Anonymous's picture

The problem is, as long as you keep calling the terrorists "radicals" and "extremists" nobody with factual knowledge on islam's genocidal history will believe you.

They are not radicals, they're not extremists. A radical by definition is someone who strays from dogma. Martin Luther was a radical, he strayed from catholic dogma. Secular mohammedans are radical, they refuse to take the koran literally.

The terrorists follow the orders in the koran. Worse, they follow the so called prophet's example. Mohammed waged war, fought in 66 battles, murdered the Jews in Arabia because they refused to follow him, enslaved the free and had all his critics slaughtered. And since his death following his mass murdering example has been the #1 driving force behind islam.

Not long after he died his followers invaded India. How many Hindus were slaughtered? Millions. All the murderers did so because Mohammed himself had done so before them. And this still keeps going.

In islamic mythology Mohammed is presented as the 100% perfect human being, which means that all the bloodshed this genocidal maniac caused is also 100% perfect for allah. As long as this sentiment prevails islam is a danger to all of mankind. Simple as that.

Anonymous's picture

Intelligent and well thought out arguments. Well done. The world would be a much better place if more people had your honesty and the courage to speak out....

Nobby's picture

I have no religious beliefs and have read all these posts, not really understanding all the " religious terminology ".
However, as all on here seem to be talking a lot of sense ( something which has been lacking on both sides of the discussions in the last week or two) I thought I'd give the alternative argument.
No normal self respecting non Muslim that I know can understand how or why the Muslim community feel they have the right to expect people of the UK to just lay down and allow Muslims to change laws and our way of thinking in our own country. We don't get it as to why your beliefs are more important than our way of life. We do not expect Muslims to stop being Muslims, the same as we really couldn't care less if Sikhs are Sikhs or Christians are Being Christians. Good luck to all religions but don't preach to me and tell me I have to follow one or the other.
I want to live my life the way I want and I respect your decision to live yours the way you want. I really don't care. If a man wants to be gay then let him, it's his choice- not yours. I am not gay but so long as that gay person doesn't flaunt it in front if me of preaches that it is the only way and I am wrong for not being gay then I really couldn't care less.
The more you condemn others for not adapting to your beliefs the more you will alienate them and push them into the arms of the EDL or BNP. People of Britain have fought for the right of free speech and free will for generations and will not stop now.
I can't see an end to this as i am ashamed to say our government are too weak to stand up for the majorites and too willing to give in to minorities.

Anonymous's picture

As a non-muslim American I can only suggest going by the numbers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. These conflicts show that the utilization of violence is considerably skewed towards the party that feigns democratic fundamentals that is exercising an agenda of self-protection. As semi-democratic societies we engage in violence in a conflicted manner, in which there is a significant internal opposition to war. So I wouldn't go about blaming Americans in general, but rather the corporations that profiteer from war as well as the politicians that gain legitimacy from it. Someone running a marathon in Boston has as much to do with American imperialism as a farmer in Waziristan has to do with the Taliban. Both, unfortunately manage to be affected by the perpetuation of violence.

Regardless, the Americans and the Israelis manage to produce quite a body count under the auspices of 'bringing freedom' or 'preventing terrorism', etc. This brand of disproportionate warfare is intended to produce a dissuasive effect to prevent future acts of violence. But, like capital punishment within our own justice system I have yet to see it dissuade anyone from continued violence. This is hardly eye for an eye.

You try to suggest that violence does not justify violence. But, that is hardly a point. These notions, while quite clear in our first world classrooms and the safety of our streets are patently absurd for much of the world. Violence by one party certainly does not justify violence by another, but it naturally perpetuates continued violence. Whether that be in gang warfare in Mexico or between the Palestinians and Israelis. Justice and justification is a notion we pontificate upon in classrooms. But, it has little room in the life of someone that may live within the numerous conflict zones across the world where violence and insecurity are unfortunately a state of nature. Just because you cannot grasp that from the comfort of your computer doesn't suggest that it is not a reality. It is not only Muslims that bring up the continued violence towards Muslims in the world via drone strikes, disproportionate use of violence and collective punishment in Palestine that goes against the Geneva Convention, or civil war in Mexico due to our drug war, and I think we should remind ourselves and others of it no matter the circumstances.

The problem of nation states in conflict is that they do not gain legitimacy from their ability to mitigate it, but rather their ability to maintain or escalate violence and perpetuate fear in the bulk of their citizens. Who needs to provide services, democratic reform, bureaucratic responsibility when you can engage in fear mongering to obtain legitimacy. This is a problem for the citizens of the USA with our 'War on Terror', but it is also the case those within Muslim, Latin American, and African countries. Insecurity breeds piss poor governance and I am finding quite few examples of good governance across the world right now.

I also think that you downplay the significance of European and American foreign policy and its effect on the trajectory of political, economic, and religious affairs within Muslim world. Particularly after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the suppression of moderate often nationalistic voices in the region and the continued military support of dictators. We have also done the same in Latin America, parts of which still manage to be the most violent places on earth that make Palestine and Israel look like friendly neighbors having a barbecue. Most rigorous academic narratives rely heavily on western influence on and relations with Muslim leaders to derive a explanatory framework for the direction of events in the region. To deny it or just toss it aside is poor scholarship.

I will agree that the Muslim world appears to be lacking in self-reflection particularly in consideration of women's rights, educational attainment, free speech, assembly, infrastructure development, public health/welfare and in other areas. As long as your leaders can prime the pump for gasoline sales across the world they will never be responsive to the needs of their citizens. It is a resource curse that we have reinforced in the western world. But, when the pump runs dry there will be little to show for it other than the wealth and largesse that has been accumulated by a few. However, I think that poor self-reflection is a part of collective consciousness. The Japanese don't teach their children about the devastation in Korea and China that they perpetuated, the Europeans and the Americans also sugarcoat their historical narratives regarding imperialism and its discontents. That is a problem that all societies deal with far and wide.

Anonymous's picture

What an absurd statement
Hindus, gays, Christians, Buddhists are persecuted all throughout the Middle East, yet you do not see such brutal populist movements against Muslims.
Whole civilisations - Copts, Assyrians, Anatolian Greeks, yedzidis, Armenians, Baha'is, Ahmadis, south Sudanese, west Papuans, East Timorese, Berbers, Yorubas, Sikhs, etc have been persecuted horribly and near extirpated by the Islamic ideology.
Yet we do not see gay or Coptic rights suicide bombers killing dozens on the streets of Karachi do we? And I doubt you would condone it in such a way.

Face it. Muslims are not always the victims.

Algernond's picture

You are showing signs of rationality and independent thought.. Dangerous; may it lead to you rejecting faith ?

Niall's picture

Thoughtful article.
It seems a shame to me that we always have to focus on what divides us rather than what unites us.
Religions tend to claim to be the 'one true' but as there are others around they are always going to grate against one another which means that though it can unite one group (albeit sections) it can lead to the dehumanising of others - the opposite of what was generally intended but usually to the advantage of the powerful.
It seems clear that once the specific superstitions and magical claims are stripped away core humanist values emerge, why are these not enough - are people so ignorant that have to believe a divine figure told us these or that the reason for doing them is not that they are right in themselves but because you will get a reward in always by definition unprovable afterlife.
I know people have invested too much in religion from the point of view of their lifelong worldview and even their resources, family and community for there to be any change coming soon it just seems a shame that people avoid having these beliefs challenged and cling to them at the expense of the true principles.
We are floating on this beautiful rock in the vastness of the universe and we are going to die; accepting that and that the idea of no longer existing is frightening would get us a lot further than making up ways to feel better about it.

Chris's picture

This article is being bounced around on Twitter. All sorts of people (anti-fundamentalists, perhaps, ranging from religious believers through to arguably bigotted figures such as Pat Condell) keep retweeting it.

My own take is that people want to experience a shared emotional reaction with others, but that in the last 12 years Muslims and non-Muslims have experienced different emotional reactions to terrorism and to the 'War on Terror', not because of differing beliefs, but because of differing identities. This exacerbates difference and increases the 'us and them' mindset to which we are all prone.

Although in some details the author went a bit too far, the basic thrust of what he says is true and wise. Impressive perception for one so young. He obviously has wise, perceptive parents.

Andrew's picture

May I complement you on this most excellent work. Your reasoned, empathetic and articulate illustration of the view point of almost everyone I Know (mostly Christian some Jew and some Sikh) warmed may heart and gladdened my spirit. I don't mind telling you I thought it was a joke and not written by a Muslim. It resolutely hits the nail on every head and if you could only get the majority of Muslims communities to understand this is how they are now viewed and believe it we'd be a lot closer to some semblance of peaceful coexistence that alas is now sadly lacking and not likely to occur if current trends continue. The fact that Muslims don't seem to know or care about the emnity that exists between us in Britain is scary and deeply troubling to me personally. It is only the gossamer thread of political correctness and our own "lets all be polite" Britishness that is stoping a complete breakdown I. Community relations to the point where I fear a Bosnian type war will occur in out not to distant future. We all see the rise of EDL who you rightly point out see all the realities of Muslim apathy me double standards and are becoming more politically aware and eloquent by the day. Let me tell you my friend I Believe whole heartedly in many of their assertions. It's also a fact that so do almost 85% off the people I talk to about such things. This cannot go on. Muslim communities have played the racial tollerance cArd to much now and it's vail has been lifted by the radicals of you religion. They need to wake up to the real threat of recent trends. I haven't come across many people like yourself and have been pleasantly surprised. It is people like you who will make or break the future of this country and on the account may God and Allah bless and protect you and shine light on all the dark place you must walk

Fondest regards and in hope of a better future of peaceful coexistence

Your friend

Andrew

Another John's picture

Greetings
Shafiq

I don't think I can add to your debate as I know so little about the realities you discuss. I would like to add my voice in support of the open minded stance you have taken. Thank you.

Whilst the avaricious exploitation by one institution, be it corporate, political, ethnic or religious, against another will naturally fuel a defensive 'fear' reaction, it does seem to me that 'hate' though is a fall back position for insecure members of sub-groups to advance their cause and is so often exploited by their 'leaders'. True of all times and human activity. History is littered.

It just so happens that I am a little way into reading Thomas Asbridge's 'The Crusades' and I find the parallels particularly striking as groups and factions behave no differently now as then.

I note that one respondent said:

"You are showing signs of rationality and independent thought.. Dangerous; may it lead to you rejecting faith ?"

Faith exists outside of rational and independent thought. Rational and independent thought should be integral to all religious 'faiths' but in my opinion faith can also exist outside of most religions.

Thank you for your article, it has helped me understand a little more.

May the world go well with you.

Another John.

Anonymous's picture

Impressive. This is the first time I have read a blog written with such honesty end selfreflection by a muslim. It must have taken a lot of courage.

Thank you and keep safe.

A supporter