Pushing for change as British-Pakistani Muslims


by Sunny
26th October, 2005 at 3:03 am    

Navid Akhtar, behind Monday’s C4 documentary – Young, Angry and Muslim – wrote an interesting article for the Observer the day before (via FaithinSociety) about some Muslims being torn between cultures and turning to extremism. He starts by saying:

But for many in our community the London bombings were a watershed and left us feeling the time had come to face up to some harsh realities. The community has failed to address a growing crisis of identity.

True, though some like Dr Mohammed Naseem and the MCB still seem to be living in a fantasy world. Navid elaborates on the problems.

Our community is fracturing – we live in the most deprived areas of Britain, family ties are breaking down, personal conflicts and ‘honour’ killings are on the increase.We have low educational achievement, high unemployment and one of the largest prison populations for any ethnic group. A once law-abiding community is now plagued by drugs, crime and violence.

True, and these are issues that the community leaders need to deal with, rather than working on their TV interview techniques. He talks of the Biraderi clan system and how that gives rise to frustration over politics.

Young Pakistanis are losing faith in mainstream politics. Tribal people are reluctant to break old relationships, so despite anger over foreign policy clan elders continue their relationship with Labour. The effect is rising support for radical parties, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir which campaigns for restoration of the caliphate and sharia law, basically a return to Islamic rule in the Muslim world.

This is a point I disagree with. Whatever your leanings and the failure of the Labour govt, I believe Muslims have to realise that to influence real change they have to do it from within the Labour party. Opportunistic people like Galloway and the Respect party are as useful as a lighter in a barn, and only provide false hope by fooling a few people. It is always within the centre that real power lies and where any lobby group should aim to influence.

Navid Akhtar illustrates why Hizb ut-Tahrir are to be despised (condescending towards others, no real plans, supporting terrorists etc) though does not examine this enough. He may have done in the programme though, which I unfortunately missed. He ends succintly:

I believe the future of my community lies in finding the right blend of all that is British, Pakistani and Muslim. Change can only come from within, but we have to accept out faults first. It is from the young people, in particular women, that grassroots solutions will begin to emerge.

This applies to pretty much everyone mate… if only we had more women leaders.


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  1. T Nathan — on 26th October, 2005 at 11:29 am  

    I agree with the points made .

    So lets start plotting the demise of the opportunistic bandwagon jumpers, Respect. A party built on anti-war, but now seem to be out with their banners to everything from Gate Gourmet to Birmingham riots. You name it, if its ethnic, swp’ers are out and about , Respect ! .

    As I understand it , it’s to do with lack of leadership, lack of local structure , biraderi too aligned with old labour , along with poverty etc etc . .

    More woman leadership? what more salma yaqoob ? – do you know she’s leading a march today in Lozelle’s area ,whilst carrying the banner for respect. Less of that, the better . Mohammed Naseem and Salma , are like viruses spreading the infection that is Respect .

    So lets start a debate on strategies for the eventual demise of respect . One thing is clear – it needs to happen from within, rather than by people from the outside. No point in throwing sticks and stones from outside, it will only enable respect to leach on to more Muslim victimhood mentality.

  2. Old Pickler — on 26th October, 2005 at 11:37 am  

    More woman leadership? what more salma yaqoob ?

    I can’t stand Salma Yaqoob, but why should more women leaders mean more like her. That’s like saying, ‘We once employed a black man, and he was really lazy – no more of them.’

    (I always like to compare sexism to racism, because lefties are generally more sensitive to racism than sexism.)

  3. Usman — on 26th October, 2005 at 12:27 pm  

    I agree with the editor of the original article.
    WE need to accept our problems first, and then the shift of movement will come from within the existing social and political structres.

    it is not until we decide educate ourselvs, from youth to the adults, in the British Pakistani community that this change will occur. We need to realise it need not be a choice between traditionalism and modernity parallel to religon or crime and deviance. But it can be a combination of modernity and Islam without the deviant characteristics of the western world.

    You have to bare in mind, it is these traditionalists in the triabl leaders and villagers which stigmatise the western world way of life. They concnetrate on the negatve parts, not concentration on the more positive side of things….

  4. Usman — on 26th October, 2005 at 12:28 pm  

    (e.g) Young British Muslims who aren’t deviant, but are literate and well ambassadors of Pakistan and Islam…

  5. Mekaal Hassan — on 26th October, 2005 at 1:29 pm  

    Sunny,

    People like you are best whilst they are shut-up. The moment you open you mouth to comment on political and social issues, some nasty stuff comes out and you dont mostly have a clue what you are on about.

    British Muslims know very well who suits them as their political leader and who doesnt deserve to speak on their behalf, please dont be patronising and dont disrespect their choices and wishes. get a full tim job, mate! you seem to have all the time in this world. I hope you will soon start getting ads, that us all your stnd for and that is what the hidden motive is. hahahahah
    mekaal hassan
    london

  6. Sunny — on 26th October, 2005 at 1:54 pm  

    *yawn* Please go back to the cave Mekaal, its much easier to keep yourself in the dark than discuss issues isn’t it. Will your silly taunts stop me? Yeah – keep dreaming.

  7. shihab — on 26th October, 2005 at 2:09 pm  

    mekaal he say hahahahah, he make funny joke ya

    I’ve always said extreme types could do well to develop a sense of humour, so well done mekaal.

  8. Fe'reeha — on 26th October, 2005 at 2:54 pm  

    Whoever this Mikaal Hassan is, he is not the only voice.
    Sadly, there are many more people like him from every age group in the Muslim community, still finding faults in every move those around are making but being reluctant to accept that God forbid, there could be something wrong with the Muslim Ummah!
    For God’s sake, it is high time someone shrugged the lethargic minds and made them see around them. No, of course there is nothing wrong with the religion Islam. But with due respect, there are some serious problems in the ones who are calling themselves so called followers of it.
    And if you really think that Muslim community is intelligent enough to pick up their leaders, then think again. Could you give me example of one country in the world, where the government or the head of the country is actually reflecting the voice of the people, or is even honest to the views of it’s people. Saudi kingship? Pakistani dictatorship? Or Egyptian power holders?
    Even in Britain, the best we can do is revert to HT, who by the way were encouraging people “not to vote” in the last election. Oh, that indeed was a clever choice!!!!

  9. Old Pickler — on 26th October, 2005 at 2:57 pm  

    No, of course there is nothing wrong with the religion Islam

    *Cough*

  10. Fe'reeha — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:21 pm  

    Well, if you think there is, then why don’t you enlighten me, rather then making ignorant snides!

    Cough! Cough!

  11. Sunny — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:24 pm  

    OP – Don’t even try it. This ain’t Jihadwatch as I’ve said before.

  12. Old Pickler — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:26 pm  

    Fe’reeha, it would take too long, and Sunny wouldn’t like it. However, the eloquent, informative and witty comments at Harry’s Place of a certain ‘Old Peculier’ will tell you all you need to know. This woman is a genius – I wish I was as clever as she is.

  13. Fe'reeha — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:35 pm  

    I woud rally like to know why people do not like Salma Yaqoob? Is it because of the party she belongs to or is it because of something in her?

  14. Old Pickler — on 26th October, 2005 at 3:45 pm  

    I can’t speak for anyone else but for me it’s her politics.

  15. Sunny — on 26th October, 2005 at 4:07 pm  

    I think Salma is using it for political point-scoring, that’s why I don’t like her.

    She used the Guardian article to say that the Asian community lacked effective community leaders too…. which is funny since the head of the Bham mosque, her boss Dr Naseem reckons himself as a bit of a community leader.

    No, her real attack is at Khalid Mahmood MP, the Labour MP for Perry Barr who won against Respect, whose representative was her boss. And the doc was Respect’s biggest donor too… so there is more to this than meets the eye IMO. Yakoob is just playing politics than actually working for something substantial.

    The Bham Mosque could have had talks with the protesting Africans on day one to find out what the problem was and start asking around, or at least provided assurances.
    Now that riots have broken out, they’re all blaming each other. How convenient.

  16. Col. Mustafa — on 26th October, 2005 at 6:17 pm  

    Theres so many people coming out and talking about how and why the muslim youth should change and this and that.

    Even i do it most of the time, but its abit harder to implement it.

    And for the record its not just muslims attitudes that need changing, its like everyone outside this godforsaken religion is perfect or something.

  17. Don — on 26th October, 2005 at 8:08 pm  

    ‘godforsaken religion’

    IMO that covers all of them, but perhaps you mispoke?

  18. T Nathan — on 26th October, 2005 at 8:16 pm  

    no solutions then . .
    watch salma in action. She may have the right intentions, but be politically misguided.

  19. Col. Mustafa — on 26th October, 2005 at 9:45 pm  

    Im saying it terms of how people percieve it.
    Not actually meaning it.

    But you get the point right?

    Not that everyone percieves it that way, but i dont know how much nitpicking people wanna do.

  20. Sunny — on 26th October, 2005 at 10:49 pm  

    When we talk about change, and I know I give the wrong impression, I don’t mean it for impressing others. There is no reason for people to have to talk about “change” or even implement it to impress others.

    This has always been about evolving and bringing about positive change for the benefit of the Muslim community itself.
    The Al-Qaeda has always been and still is about Muslim on Muslim violence. The rest of us get caught in the crossfire. Their real intention is to subjugate the ummah with their own interpretation of the holy scriptures.

    I suspect that Navid Akhtar wants to tell his own people that they need to change for their own benefit, hence the talk about education and economic deprivation. He uses the mainstream media only because that is the only way to get the govt to think differently (which has put us in this position by pandering to “community leaders”), and because our own media is too scared to question its audience.

    The same problem applies to Hindus and Sikhs too.

  21. AA — on 27th October, 2005 at 1:34 pm  

    Hi Sunny i watched the programme on PTV live yesterday evening it was interesting viewing. what was supposed to be a discussion was a farce it obvious that their are people out ther that are using current situations to menial political careers.

    i wont comment on the actual show. infact id say i really dont watch much PTV, a channel mostly watched by the parents. but well done to them for aleast airing a programme that weas of interest.

    wouldnt you agree that what people need to move forward are ideas and solutions instead of trying to promote individual interests.

  22. Sunny — on 27th October, 2005 at 11:53 pm  

    AA – yes you are right, I don’t think this was handled properly from the start and it is wrong that we only started getting to talk about this in the aftermath of a riot and two dead people.
    Yes, to move forward we need ideas, solutions, dialogue and to mend fences. All suggestions and initiatives are welcome!

  23. shazia — on 28th October, 2005 at 2:33 am  

    our elders uneducated speeches on religion, then going on to learning the correct translation of the quran, combined with our own personal thoughts, followed by western ideologies and soon enough crash, bang, boom and this usually comes before we reach our teens.Belief
    as mere humans we need to belong and belief. when both belonging and believing are disturbed you have what the British Pakistani Muslim community are today- secluded and angry
    ***
    The fences that need mending are those that have been under construction for years
    My proposal: not allow fences to be built
    My plan: rip off any plank that may stand
    My proposition: demolish minors before they becomes majors
    My pessimism: at bay

  24. Ibn Tahhara — on 29th October, 2005 at 3:55 pm  

    Good point about the MCB. I’ve been following the MCB Watch blog and they are an organisation with deep problems.

  25. Austin — on 4th December, 2005 at 4:06 pm  

    Hi Sunny…I’am not Pakistani neither am i a muslim but i’am really glad that you atleast have started a discussion and with some real good replies.Right way to go forward.

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