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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