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An email response I got

Posted By Sunny On 5th October, 2007 @ 3:30 pm In Religion, Organisations | 106 Comments

A friend of a close friend sent me this in an email yesterday:

I’ve read your [1] Guardian article and it’s very good. (check out the number of comments!) I agree with it fully. I also believe that as Muslims (inc those of other minority faiths) we expect others to understand ‘us’ (ie the minority) yet we fail to embrace other minorities and their differences and are quick to condemn their ‘kuffar’ ways. My first experience of this was during many of the anti war marches when we encountered the ‘lefties.’ Here were the white, lefty lot yet they were campaigning on ‘our’ behalf and on ‘our’ issues. How often do we campaign on issues that are not seen as ‘ours’??? I think we (minorities) still look at issues from our narrow spheres and as we are always feeling constantly attacked in a globalised world, we want to shut the door and eat our samosas whilst verbally condemning the telly for bringing this news……!

Zubeda was happy for me to publish this and use her name. On the campaigning side, I made the same point about Sikhs [2] two years ago: that the political apathy and lack of interest in other issues is just appalling.


106 Comments To "An email response I got"

#1 Comment By Refresh On 5th October, 2007 @ 4:18 pm

She makes some good points. However to judge the article by the number of comments is a mistake, as I am sure you will agree (and implied by you asking CiF to close that thread).

The good points she makes are simply that we are all part of a wider community and should be out marching or being active in many other ways.

Some of us have, for well over 25 years. In all the key areas which are now mainstream, including Education, Climate Change, Poll Tax, Foreign Policy, Animal Testing. Not just in the usual comfort zones.

And as for the ‘kuffar’ comment uttered, I have never heard it. How prevalent is it? And if she has or anybody else does it needs to be challenged there and then. Just as with any other bigotted comment. That would be her first step to being active.

It also is appropriate, and urgent, that commentary is not allowed to be hijacked by those who use progressive language (and I see ‘free speech’ to be progressive) to hide a much darker propensity. For that to happen much tighter writing with clear ideas is needed as well as a good understanding of the target audience.

#2 Comment By Sofia On 5th October, 2007 @ 4:20 pm

Muslim political apathy - try getting the HTs, jamaatis, salafis and wahabis of this world to quit telling muslims that voting is haraam…
Muslim history is full of political upheaval and yet a lot of Muslims in this country are more than happy to sit at home watching ARY or GEO..than making a difference by voting..

#3 Comment By Leon On 5th October, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

Never heard the kaffar comment but heard the gora (sp?) countless times…

#4 Comment By Sofia On 5th October, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

Refresh, I’ve heard plenty of Muslims talk about Kaafirs as if theyre discussing the weather…its stupid, ignorant, and down right rude. And before anyone gets out quotes from the Quran/hadith, please don’t bother as alongside reading the Quran we are also asked to exercise humility, common sense, tolerance and respect.

#5 Comment By Sofi On 5th October, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

On the whole, i agree with Refresh’s comments on this. While this is not the case in its entirety, its unfair to tarnish everyone with one brush, although im sure the general consensus is we love our samosas. If anything, comments like kuffar etc go to prove there are ignorant bigots in all communinties and we should challenge it as and when it occurs - by the asians on the wider community and vice versa.

#6 Comment By Refresh On 5th October, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

Sofia, thanks its worth knowing. Next time you hear it challenge it. There is no excuse.

In the pejorative sense it is offensive.

#7 Comment By Zubeda On 5th October, 2007 @ 6:20 pm

I guess a similar point would be the number of times some Muslim leaders at a local level (those that deem themselves to be practising and keeping the message *absolutely* pure- which is a small percentage) would choose to be on the ’side’ of a Muslim, who may look similar to them, rather than ‘trust’ another person who may dress and think differently but whose intentions are not questionable. That is why some people (minorities?) still choose not to be involved in grass roots campaigning, as they cannot see beyond the physical person due to our own insecurities. That’s where the challenge lies!It’s ironic that as faith people we are not meant to be judging people, and yet….

As a Muslim, I’m not Muslim bashing, but just sharing my own experiences.

By the way, when the kuffar, haraam comments are made, I do challenge them. My faith demands that of me!

#8 Comment By Refresh On 5th October, 2007 @ 9:30 pm

“That is why some people (minorities?) still choose not to be involved in grass roots campaigning, as they cannot see beyond the physical person due to our own insecurities.”

That’s one reason. We need stronger communities, not communities living in fear.

As for being more politically active, be assured the general public is uninterested in political parties - other than what’s going to hit their pocket. This is reflected in the number of people opting not to vote at elections.

However the number of people active in single issue campaigns is supposed to be rising. And that is where the biggest difference is to be made.

As for muslim bashing, perhaps you could (should). However what I think you mean is, you could bash your own community, which you identify as muslim. (Whereas your community is much wider than that, and it should be ever widening).

In fairness, to do any bashing you’ve got to have tried to affect opinion closer to home. And better still tried to get people to back you in your own campaigns. Otherwise you end up carping, without anything to show for it.

Apathy comes for a number of reasons. And ironically politicians are top of my list. They lack inspirarion and aspiration, so they stand little chance of inspiring anyone else.

And if you were Blair you’d have blamed the electorate by now.

#9 Comment By Desi Italiana On 6th October, 2007 @ 8:04 am

Regarding the word “kuffar,” I’ve never heard anyone utter it as far as I can remember, but I’ve seen the word in print and I find it incredibly hurtful. I don’t know why I would find it particularly “hurtful” instead of just brushing it off. Whatever.

As Leon points out, “gora” is used much more often, and I hear it pretty often (there was a particularly embarressing moment during a Desi “function” when an elderly man walked in with his wife. He totally looked “gora” but spoke perfect Punjabi. Someone turned to their friend and said in Punjabi out loud, “Isn’t that incredible that as a gora, he speaks Punjabi flawlessly? He doesn’t have an accent at all!” To which the “gora” man responded in Punjabi, “I AM Punjabi, my family was originally from Lahore!”)

Zubeda brings up the excellent point on how divided solidarities are along religious and ethnic lines. I call this a “special interest” mentality. SOME folks are guilty of cordoning people off by arguing that the cause they are fighting for is “theirs.” Like when some say that the Palestinian question is an “Islamic” or “Muslim” issue, which the Angry Arab brings up on his blog. I’ve come across similar attitudes (ie you can’t say/criticize anything since you’re not “one of us,” “you wouldn’t understand,” blah blah blah).

This I think is because of a lack of a vision which has universal common ideals. Like, you know, in the interests of human rights for all, justice equality, etc which cuts across borders, even if this sounds cheesy.

#10 Comment By Desi Italiana On 6th October, 2007 @ 9:14 am

“Like, you know, in the interests of human rights for all, justice equality, etc which cuts across borders, even if this sounds cheesy.”

What I meant to say is that solidarity for human rights, justice, and equality for all across borders may sound like a cheesy notion, but I believe in it (in Amreeka, my belief would cateforize me a “bleeding heart” by the leading powers that may be).

#11 Comment By Refresh On 6th October, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

Not cheesy at all. Dark and vicious forces deny their people these aspirations. The greatest aspirations of all.

#12 Comment By Shahid Khan On 6th October, 2007 @ 3:21 pm

Zubeda - You will know that Muslims are obligated to give in Charity at least 2.5% of their wealth above the basic means required to live.

Islamic Relief spends a set amount of money collected in this country within this country on various social projects.

One of the central messages of Islam is to enjoin good and forbid evil. It is a religous duty and obligation.

Allah Says:
“Worship none but Allâh (Alone) and be dutiful and good to parents, and to kindred, and to orphans and Al-Masâkîn (the needy), and speak good to people [i.e. enjoin righteousness and forbid evil,”
Qur’an Surah al-Baqarah 2:83.

Regarding Justice:
Anas bin Malik said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said,
“Support your brother whether he was unjust or the victim of injustice.”

He was asked, “O Messenger of Allah! We know about helping him when he suffers injustice, so what about helping him when he commits injustice?”

Prophet Muhammad said, “Prevent and stop him from committing injustice, and this represents giving support to him.”
Recorded by Ahmas, Bukhari recorded this Hadith through Hushaym.

Regarding Social Interaction:
Abu Huraira (Allaah be pleased with him) used to say: The worst kind of food is the wedding feast to which the rich are invited and the poor are ignored. He who does not come to the feast, he in fact disobeys Allaah and His Messenger (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam).
Recorded in Muslim

Regarding our neighbours:
It is narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allaah (may peace and blessing be upon him) observed: He will not enter Paradise whose neighbour is not secure from his wrongful conduct.
Recorded by Muslim

Regarding Deeds:
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah said:
“Allah does not look at your outward appearance or your wealth, rather He looks at your hearts and your deeds.”
Recorded by Muslim, Ahmad and Ibn Majah.

Regarding Mercy:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle kissed Al-Hasan bin Ali while Al-Aqra’ bin Habis At-Tamim was sitting beside him. Al-Aqra said, “I have ten children and I have never kissed anyone of them,” Allah’s Apostle cast a look at him and said, “Whoever is not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully.”
Recorded by Bukhari.

Regarding Good Behaviour:
Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari:
The Prophet said, “Give food to the hungry, pay a visit to the sick and release (set free) the one in captivity (by paying his ransom).”
Recorded by Bukhari.

There a loads of other examples. But you know about the hadith concerning giving in charity but to do so quietly to the point that a persons left hand should not know what the right hand is giving in charity. It needs to be kept that quiet that one of your own hands should not know what the other is giving, the meaning of this is that your shouldn’t trumpet what you give.

This is recorded here:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (SallAllaahu `Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “Seven people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His. They are:

(1) a just ruler;

(2) a young man who has been brought up in the worship of Allah, (i.e. worship Allah (Alone) sincerely from his childhood),

(3) a man whose heart is attached to the mosque (who offers the five compulsory congregational prayers in the mosque);

(4) two persons who love each other only for Allah’s sake and they meet and part in Allah’s cause only;

(5) a man who refuses the call of a charming woman of noble birth for an illegal sexual intercourse with her and says: I am afraid of Allah;

(6) a person who practices charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given (i.e. nobody knows how much he has given in charity).

(7) a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes get flooded with tears.”
Recorded by Bukhari

Thus Zubeda Muslims must give but are obligated to give quietly without people even your nearest relatives knowing what you give.

So then please tell me how can they tell the likes of you they are giving to a wide range of causes if the obligation is to keep it quiet? Do they fulfil their religous duty or do they shout it out.

Also Zubeda have you ever thought about this hadith:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must not harm his neighbour; he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should honour his guest; he who believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or remain silent.”
Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim.

Speak good or remian silent.

As regards the leaders of mosques then remembers this:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) once asked his Companions:
“Do you know who is really bankrupt?”

They replied:
“The bankrupt amongst us is one who has no goods or chattels.”

To this he said:
“The [really] bankrupt among my followers is one who will come on the Day of Judgement with a record of Salat [prayers], fasting and Zakat [obligatory payment against one’s wealth]. Because of having abused so and so, slandered so and so, stolen the property of so and so, killed so and so, and unlawfully beaten so and so, he will have his rewards given to all these [wronged] people; if however, his rewards are not enough, he will have their sins thrown upon him instead, then he will be thrown into the Fire.”
Recorded by Muslim

Also this situation of consumerism in Muslims was foretold:

Prophet Muhammad said:
“I don’t fear poverty for you, but rather I fear that you will compete with one another (to see who has more possessions).”
Recorded by al-Hakim, al-Dhahabi and others.

Religion is a means of guidance and people of all religions and communities do much good work. I work with Sikhs who assist local schools, help the community, I work with Hindus who do the same. Jews and Christians as well.

Communities do a great deal and religions which come in for frequent bashing do as well.

Sir Sigmend Sternberg is famed across the religous communities for his tireless work on promoting inter-faith dialogue. The man is in his 80’s and still goes charging round to faith events. He goes from event to event to event encouraging people to talk.

I think the issue is they don’t hype it up as they see it as their duty for the people around them.

During Vashaki Indians will give sweets to Muslims as well, during Eid Muslims will give sweets to Indians as well. And both give to other communities as well.

I don’t think we should be so down on our communities and our faiths. They just do things quietly. They are fairly insular.

If anything the article should have said that we need to highlight more the work we do across communities.

From what I saw the Asian community gave quite genourously to the Tsunami and various earthquake appeals. In addition they collect for Cancer and Heart research actively, as well as Aids etc.

There is growing awareness on social issues as well.

It isn’t as bad as you think.

#13 Comment By Ruby On 6th October, 2007 @ 4:16 pm

Sunny, you’ve got a dilemma her, and its something you should think about seriously.

When gropups of people campaign for something relating to the group interest, they do so with their group identity at the forefront. Loads of Sikhs and Jews and Hindus and Muslims contribute in a variety of fields. It’s just that they don’t do it AS Sikhs and Jews and Muslims and Hindus. On the one hand, you want people to not define themselves by their ethnic background, but that’s exactly what they do, and because of that, they don’t walk around with signs over their heads saying “look at me! I’m Sikh and campaigning for debt reduction!”

You have to understand it, you can’t keep going on about the need for integration and then bemoan that integration when it happens.

#14 Comment By Shahid Khan On 6th October, 2007 @ 6:13 pm

Ruby - well made points.

I think sadly that this is a remnant of the Evangelical Movement who for their own reasosn make a big issue of the work they do. And there is nothing wrong it that if that best serves their purpose.

I think the immigrant communities, religions and even the local Christian movement just don’t take this approach. They do most of their work quietly, take in the odd Palace Tea Party and that is it.

Within the Asian community peole know who do the voluntary work, and you’ll find across the religous communities as well people know who to contact from each faith. It is just these people don’t go out and say look I do this.

In most towns the Sikhs will know the Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Christians they need to contact for work in that community. Same with the others. They just quietly do it.

Want to arrange a football tournament - get in touch with one community and they’ll always know who to contact in the other communities.

Same for disaster appeals, the people know who to contact but all those people don’t make a big deal out of it.

To my mind that is to their credit and it alos is a good thing as it gets things done. Less on publicity more on action.

As I said most people won’t have heard of Sir Sigmund Sternberg and he doesn’t wave a plaque at you saying I am Jewish come and look at all the work I do. But he is in his 80’s and his enthisiasm is amazing for going to faith events and talking to people encouraging them to engage in dialogue.

Mehri Niknam is another who has been awarded honours for her work in promoting dialogue, she worked at the grassroots level promoting amongts other things Jewish - Muslim dialogue. Setting up football matches etc.

Dr Hany El Banna is an anoter who works tirelessly.

I could go on and the lists would be massive but most people will never have heard of the people above or the others. They are faceless on the whole but they work within the communities to promote various projects.

The number of charities that work for example under the Make Poverty History Banner or Disater Emergency Committee is huge and includes Asian charities but most people will only hear about the main organisation.

Third World Debt Relief - to many the faces are Bob Geldof and Bono - but behind the background are a huge number of people and charities.

My point is apart from the usual names and faces there are big organisations in the background who quietly get on with doing things.

It is up to the Asian Community to learn about these people and the work they do. They won’t come to you but it doesn’t mean they are not there.

Asians just don’t make big announcements when they contribute to charity like say Bill Gates did.

I also think it most Brits don’t say as much either:

[3] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6901365.stm

Shows Charity donations are up but most people do it quietly.

A lot of UK Comapnies have charity schemes and a alot of people donate through there, but again quietly.

#15 Comment By Sunny On 6th October, 2007 @ 6:59 pm

When gropups of people campaign for something relating to the group interest, they do so with their group identity at the forefront. Loads of Sikhs and Jews and Hindus and Muslims contribute in a variety of fields. It’s just that they don’t do it AS Sikhs and Jews and Muslims and Hindus.

Thanks Ruby, and I’m quite aware of people’s changing identities depending on the context. That isn’t a dilemma, it’s obvious.

But it doesn’t negate the fact that brown people are not only woefully politically apathetic, except when it comes to getting agitated about religion, but they hardly get involved!

I go to plenty of rallies and political events and I’m not talking from random experience here. And it’s not even just that we’re a minority and white people would obviouslty over-represent. It’s that we stupidly under-represent.

I remember being at the Southall Stop the War event years ago before the big march. The local organiser said that they’d spent ages leafleting the mosques and people said they supported the cause and would do their best to help. On the day or the march hardly anyone came to help. The Sikh gurudwara didn’t even allow us to leaflet cause the bastard management committee (in their own words) didn’t care if Muslims were getting bombed.

And Natty, I’ve deleted your super-essay because frankly this isn’t the place for extended rants that make no sense. If you want to froth at the mouth do so somewhere else. At a mental institution preferably. And don’t accuse me of spending all my time ‘Asian-bashing’ either. If you can’t accept that I’m critical of brown people then again, don’t read the blog. No one is forcing you. Play the argument not the man.

#16 Comment By Sunny On 6th October, 2007 @ 7:01 pm

Oh and another point on charity. A friend of mine spent ages doing research on Asian philanthropy in this country. She found that:

1) As a proportion Asians were quite tight-fisted.

2) The money mostly went either to religious institutions…

3) … or to charities ‘back home’. Very little went to helping charities in their local/regional area even though they obviously benefit from them.

#17 Comment By douglas clark On 6th October, 2007 @ 11:32 pm

Ruby,

This is possibly unfair, but you said:

Loads of Sikhs and Jews and Hindus and Muslims contribute in a variety of fields. It’s just that they don’t do it AS Sikhs and Jews and Muslims and Hindus.

#18 Comment By douglas clark On 6th October, 2007 @ 11:51 pm

Try again:

Ruby,

This is possibly unfair, but you said:

Loads of Sikhs and Jews and Hindus and Muslims contribute in a variety of fields. It’s just that they don’t do it AS Sikhs and Jews and Muslims and Hindus.

Are they not doing it within a broader perspective, perhaps the one Zubeda hinted at? It is, perhaps, that only when folk take a step away from what you see as their identities; Sikhs, Jews, Hindu, Muslim, whatever, that they can see a wider compass? Oh, and don’t miss out Christians.

It is, I would argue with you, a narrow minded idea of what human beings are about, to see them simply as atavars for their religious beliefs. I believe most folk are more complex than that, but there you go, I would say that, wouldn’t I?

#19 Comment By Natty On 6th October, 2007 @ 11:55 pm

And Natty, I’ve deleted your super-essay because frankly this isn’t the place for extended rants that make no sense. If you want to froth at the mouth do so somewhere else. At a mental institution preferably. And don’t accuse me of spending all my time ‘Asian-bashing’ either. If you can’t accept that I’m critical of brown people then again, don’t read the blog. No one is forcing you. Play the argument not the man.

It was resounding proof of Asian contribution towards this country and world-wide. The reason you deleted is because it proved you and your friend wrong which you don’t like. So to justify yourself you call it a rant.

There were plenty of Asian charity links to projects worldwide and also evidence of Asians helping in this country in the piece.

I played the argument and you didn’t like to be wrong that is the problem. So it got deleted.

Asians have contributed more than your super friend the USA to help this country right down to direct aid and interest free loans from WW2 through to various projects right to the present day. It doesn’t suit you to admit that.

Asians funded the WW2 effort, fought in it and carried on supporting the West. That is what you don’t want people to hear. Asians provided the World Biggest Volunteer Force in recorded history during WW2 - you don’t want to hear that.

You published an argument that was wrong and you don’t like being exposed for poor research which the essay as you put it did. 50 years of local, national and international contribution. You and your freind don’t want to hear that.

In 60 secs I found charities from each major faith of the Asians doing work worldwide including outside their own community. You don’t want to hear that.

Muslims from Leicester and Birmingham were cheered and waved in for providing Charity to SW England during the floods. Which proved your friends argument as nonsense and you don’t like to hear that.

I suggest you play the arguement not the man.

I notice your friend is now quiet so lets see her proof for her statement.

I also answered you about religious institutions and will do so again. Asian give money there because they get no public funding so how else are they suposed to build places of worship?

Due to difficulties they often have to spend money on lawyers which the public purse doesn’t give them.

In my town there are more than 12 churches hardly used. 1 mosque and 1 gurdwara full to the rafters and they can’t extend. The Hindu Temple can’t even be built.

So what should Asians do? Give to national causes which won’t help them?

We already contribute via tax to preservation of Anglo-Saxon heritage and providing social services to all. So what more do you want us to do? Use voluntary money on our projects where we get little or no national help or provide even more to projects that already get help via taxation?

#20 Comment By Avi Cohen On 7th October, 2007 @ 12:04 am

-And Natty, I’ve deleted your super-essay because frankly
-this isn’t the place for extended rants
Err what about your big quest for Asians to embrace free speech and all.

Surely deleting a view even if extended only a few days after asking Asians to embrace free speech is a bit harsh.

Embrace the free speech man - Please let Natty have her say.

#21 Comment By douglas clark On 7th October, 2007 @ 12:06 am

Natty,

Before this gets deleted too. I am well aware of the help and assistance that India gave Britain during WW2. But, if you really want realism in your life, at least in the European Theatre, it was the Soviet Union what won the war. 19 out of 20 German soldiers were killed by a Soviet bullet.

And I do not think anyone, repeat anyone could have come to an accomodation with Adolf the Painter. His Liebensraum would probably have eventually extended to wherever you live.

I have a T-Shirt that says “Celebrating the defeat of Fascism 1945 - 2005″ It seems to have missed your stupid little head that that was the point of the war.

If you think otherwise, you are an idiot.

#22 Comment By Refresh On 7th October, 2007 @ 12:15 am

Sunny, I had not read anything else by Natty which would have been deleted in the normal course of events. On the whole he’s been rational and interesting.

If it was a ‘rant’ in the sense it was overly-long, it may well have been worth the rest of us having a chance to read it, for what sounds like interesting information.

How about reinstating it? Unless it offensive of course.

#23 Comment By Refresh On 7th October, 2007 @ 12:18 am

Or am I confusing him with Avi Cohen?

“If you think otherwise, you are an idiot.”

Most unlike you Douglas. What’s the score?

#24 Comment By douglas clark On 7th October, 2007 @ 12:24 am

Avi,

Frankly, Natty’s previous post was ridiculous. Impossible to get a grip with. It is not what blogs ought to be about. Verity can write huge posts, but at least they stay on a single subject. Our friend, Natty, just goes for a carpet bombing technique. At least her(?) newest post gives you the, sort of, hope that it can be answered. Or that she might actually engage with points, rather than cut and paste things that are true, or debateable but not really germane. She is an expert at this.

This was a crime bomb of a post against someone who had written something obvious. It was impossible to answer, and that is not to it’s credit.

There was so much history in there, and so much distortion, that it was next to impossible to tell one from the other. If it was this that the UK did wrong, it was that; etc, etc.

OK, persuade Sunny that this piece of wallpaper posting was worthwhile, and I’ll try to take it apart, line by line, for that is what it deserves. So, yes, I do believe in free speech….

#25 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 12:27 am

douglas clark - I didn’t say the Indians won the war I said they contributed to the effort significantly, especially the Allied Effort as did the Africans.

It was in response to Zubeda’s claim that Asians don’t help causes other than their own.

The point of the war was to defeat fascism of course.

The contribution of the Indians was used as an example to show that we Asians do contribute to other causes including International ones.

And by the way if you want realism then don’t forget Indians fought on 3 fronts - Europe, Asia and Africa.

Russia got an ever-lasting UN Security Council Seat for it’s efforts. India and Africa have yet to secure one such seat between them.

BTW Where did I ever say anyone could come to an accomodation with Adolf - where the hell did that point come from?

#26 Comment By douglas clark On 7th October, 2007 @ 12:46 am

Refresh,

“What’s the score?”

Good question.

I think Natty carpet bombed Zubeda’s post. It was frankly the longest post I have ever seen published here, on my monitor, at least six feet long.

She had good points, she had poorer points. The point at which I took exception is the sort of ridiculous idea that is all too prevelant (in the West) that the defeat of Hitler was down to us. In whom I include our allies, such as India.

The fact of the matter is that Nazi Germany was destroyed by the Russians, albeit with economic and munitions support from the West.

Her post also assumed that Indians, and remember both modern day Pakistanis and Indians were Indians back then, were unaware of the potential for Adolf to take over the whole fucking planet. Given his Haulocaust, I doubt he’d have stopped short with India, do you? Would you be daft enough to argue that fighting against Adolf Hitler was not, probably, quite a good idea for Indians too? Natty seems to think it was simply brownies, her expression, not mine, bowing to whiteys, not hers.

This is a pish arguement. Assume, if you will, that the Nazis wanted to take over the planet. Assume, if you will that everyone else had an interest in opposing that. It is ludicrous to then say that it was a choice. It was a necessity.

#27 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 12:58 am

Douglas clark - This was a crime bomb of a post against someone who had written something obvious.

Explain why the main article was obvious when there was no supporting evidence. Even the author later said it was just her experience. So show me the supporting evidence.

You support for the claim that Asians don’t support external causes is frankly ridicoulous.

Leaving aside the war contributions as they were historic context of Asian contributions to an Allied Effort.

The claim that Asians only contribute to their own causes is not true.

A simple search for Asian charities that help worldwide and in the UK:

International Aid by Asians

Hindu:
[4] http://www.hindu.com/2004/03/04/stories/2004030406611803.htm

Sikh:
[5] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4052807.stm

Muslim:
[6] http://www.irw.org/whatwedo/health/makingmalariahistory

[7] http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pakistan/h05011201.html

[8] http://pnnonline.org/article.php?sid=7599

[9] http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pakistan/h05090702.html

Hindu Charity:
[10] http://www.bapscare.org/aboutus/index.htm

Sikh Charity:

[11] http://www.charityportal.org.my/article.cfm?id=61

UK Aid by Asians

Recently Mosques in Leicester sent bottled water and other items to help flood victims in SW England:

[12] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/6920454.stm

[13] http://www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire/content/articles/2007/07/30/muslim_flood_relief_feature.shtml

They got their aid there quicker than the Government managed to vist.

Islamic Relief also came to Gloucestershire’s aid, distributing 5000 litres of water to hospitals, nursing homes and community centres.

Jehangir Malik the acting UK manager of Islamic Relief who was in Darfur earlier the same week, said “I’ve been to disaster zones and to find myself doing water distribution in the UK 45 minutes from my home in Birmingham was a surreal feeling.

“When our trucks moved in on Wednesday we got the same response as we get in a place like Darfur with everyone cheering and welcoming you. The only difference was that the queues were a lot more orderly in the UK!”

Asians supported Tsunami and Earthquake relief projects. So this shows that Asians do support international and national causes.

I say again that we all pay tax; income tax, VAT etc. We all pay it including Asians. The Govt. then uses that tax on social programmes, heritage, NHS, Defence etc. So by default Asians contribute towards all this.

We contribute through tax towards preserving Anglo-Saxon Heritage; to preserve stately homes, palaces, museums, we contribute towards the preservation and upkeep of all of that.

Asians do not get much state funding for religous projects so that funding comes from the community. The community just gets on with that.

So Douglas kindly explain how Asians don’t help causes other than their own. That was the central premise of the statement made at the top of this thread.

Prove me wrong - I don’t mind.

#28 Comment By douglas clark On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:05 am

Natty,

It was in everybodys’ interest to defeat fascism. I’ve got the T Shirt. I’m not trying to be ridiculous here, but you do realise that fascism, at least the German variety, considered all other races inferior? You do see why everyone else had to stand up to that crap?

Anyway, moving on to the 21stC, what is your point?

I don’t think you have one.

Last point, you say:

“BTW Where did I ever say anyone could come to an accomodation with Adolf - where the hell did that point come from?”

OK, there is an assumption there. It is the assumption of potential neutrality. Is that what you are saying? Cause that is not what happened.

#29 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:07 am

Douglas Said - “Her post also assumed that Indians, and remember both modern day Pakistanis and Indians were Indians back then, were unaware of the potential for Adolf to take over the whole fucking planet.”

That is complete rubbish. I even quoted Ghandi wrote an open letter to Hitler. They were aware which is why they supported the effort at the same time trying to win their own freedom. Is that so difficult to understand.

I never said Indians won the war I said they played a big part. It was historical proof of an Indian contribution to an international effort. How difficult is that to understand or even comprehend. The statement at the top is they only help their own causes.

This is historic proof they worked on their own cause (freedom) and an international cause (WW2). It isn’t a complex argument to decipher.

You just said that “This was a crime bomb of a post against someone who had written something obvious.”

If it was obvious then prove Asians don’t help causes other than their own. Indians in both wars helped internation causes - that is what I an saying. Historic proof.

Indians help international causes and national causes today in the UK. Present day proof cited earlier.

#30 Comment By douglas clark On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:11 am

Natty,

Quote me. Chapter and Verse. Where did I say this:

“You support for the claim that Asians don’t support external causes is frankly ridicoulous.”

Where did I say that?

#31 Comment By Refresh On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:14 am

Douglas,

It sounds like the issues raised needs a thread of its own. I’ve got my own views with regards WW2, composition of the UNSC, starvation and genocide in India etc etc.

But I must admit I had not expected this thread to go in that direction.

Natty, can we get back on topic? Which I see to be the CiF article, activism and apathy amongst asians here in the UK and activism in general.

#32 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:17 am

Douglas - Have you actually read what the original poster said:

“…Here were the white, lefty lot yet they were campaigning on ‘our’ behalf and on ‘our’ issues. How often do we campaign on issues that are not seen as ‘ours’??? I think we (minorities) still look at issues from our narrow spheres..”

The central argument here is that white people campaign on Asian behalf and us Asians do not on issues other than our own.

My reply was to illustrate that Asians do contribute to international efforts and national efforts in the UK.

The example of the war was used to illustrate a historic contribution by the Commonwealth including India to the Allied War effort. Thereby showing that Indians have historically contributed to international efforts.

Then I cited charity work at the international level and UK national level to show the original poster that Asians do contribute to various causes now.

I think you have the wrong end of the stick - I didn’t say Indians shouldn’t have fought the Nazi’s.

I highlighted they have historically contributed to international efforts.

I replied with citation that Asians do contribute and to simply dismiss that they don’t isn’t correct.

Hence the links to historic and present day ‘issue’ work of Asians.

#33 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:20 am

Douglas - You said “This was a crime bomb of a post against someone who had written something obvious.”

She had said: “…Here were the white, lefty lot yet they were campaigning on ‘our’ behalf and on ‘our’ issues. How often do we campaign on issues that are not seen as ‘ours’??? I think we (minorities) still look at issues from our narrow spheres..”

So by saying what she said was obvious it was implied that Asians don’t contribute to causes other than their own.

#34 Comment By douglas clark On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:22 am

Refresh,

In a lot of ways, I wish Sunny had not deleted Natty’s post. But there you go. I do believe in free, if moderate, speech. If Sunny is interested, perhaps he could do a CiF style head to head between Natty and me. Now that might be fun, or it might end up quite dull. I cannot write five feet of refutation….

#35 Comment By douglas clark On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:33 am

Natty @ 33,

No. The point that the author of this piece made was valid. Zubeda stated, and rightly, that there was a moment in time when there was a cross cultural understanding. You, frankly, are still caught up in a misunderstanding.

Support my idea that we should debate each other, see where that leads.

#36 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:34 am

Natty, can we get back on topic? Which I see to be the CiF article, activism and apathy amongst asians here in the UK and activism in general.

Asians are active and I think their contributions are being minimised and even dismissed by some.

They may not be as active as Sunny would like, but they are not as inactive as Zubeda suggests.

Asians contribute greatly towards international causes such as Tsunami Aid in SE Asia, helping Africa. But due to limited Govt funding for religous projects they also have to fund these.

Asian charities work worldwide. Graduate Asians often contribute through work schemes to charity. Asians also help their own community. We have a good community spirit and we shouldn’t dilute that.

Fine ask the community to do more but don’t dismiss its efforts as practically non-existant.

As regards political apathy well most of the electorate is that way as well. Do politicians inspire confidence that it is worth the effort even voting?

How often do politicians make efforts with Asians. Try inviting Blair, Brown, Cameron etc. to your events - they rarely accept. So what do we do?

Did Jack Straw bother to discuss with Muslims in his community the issue of the niqab? Nope! He decided to discuss it via a newspaper.

So what do politicians do for us? Very few actually help their own community at community events.

The public is fed up with politicians. It is the responsibility of politicians to win back public trust. First off by listening to our views.

Where I live in my lifetime there have been 3 MP’s and only one has ever had their lacky knock at my door to ask if I wanted to ask a question. Didn’t come themselves. That is what they call local engagement - sit in a car and send someone to ask if I want to talk to them.

#37 Comment By Refresh On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:39 am

Douglas,
I assure you it will be dull. Refuting each other’s points ad infinitum would bore me to tears. One of the few things I might agree with Sunny on is I’d rather its productive and with an outcome.

And if the outcome is that everyone comes out of their homes and starts communicating with their neighbours, getting involved with their local school, their environment, works to remove any warmongers from parliament….. You can see where I would go with it.

Bear in mind also some of those that have, have been subject to vilification, right here. That is the nature of politics.

#38 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:44 am

Douglas - you are most likely incorrect. The author never said anything about cross-cultural understanding. Which is why I replied so strongly.

Once again - She had said: “…Here were the white, lefty lot yet they were campaigning on ‘our’ behalf and on ‘our’ issues. How often do we campaign on issues that are not seen as ‘ours’??? I think we (minorities) still look at issues from our narrow spheres..”

She is saying that white people campaigned on our issues and we don’t campaign on theirs. We campaign on narrow spheres of our own issues. Use of the words ‘They’ and ‘our’ imply a them and us position.

Others went on to agree that Asians need to campaign on a wider range of issues and support the wider community. Read it - it is in the comments above: 1, 5, and 7.

I am saying that Asians do already help the wider and international community and it is unfair to say they don’t. However due to funding issues they also have to contribute to Asian causes here and on the Subcontinent.

#39 Comment By douglas clark On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:46 am

Natty,

You may be right about Asian donation being underplayed. But, and I’m going back to you deleted post, you do seem to think that the worlds against you when it really is not.

Well, will you debate me? And you are doing better than me, apart from the activist stuff, I’ve never had an MP take even the slightest interest in me.

#40 Comment By Refresh On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:46 am

Natty I agree with your #36. Please see my #1 and #8.

I think we need an environment where Zobeda and others can be encouraged to also get involved.

#41 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:54 am

Refresh - What Asians need is more school govenors who are active in supporting education. There I agree there are not enough especailly the Muslim community. However it is a double edged sword as LEA’s don’t tend to approach them.

Asians are as active as the rest of the community on environmental issues.

Asians tend to live in their own communities so communicating with neighbours may need a wider base!

“works to remove any warmongers from parliament”
Won’t happen!

How do you expect Asians to advance when Hazel Blears is in charge of community relations. Before her was Ruth Kelly.

When was the last time Hazel Blears actually listened to anyone from the Asian Community. She arrogantly went round telling Muslims it was ok for them to be pulled over and searched without due cause. They obviously didn’t learn the lessons of problems this caused with the black community. So what makes you think engaging with politicians is any use.

Jack Straw - I will go to the right wing press to discuss an issue I have with my constituents. That is how they treat us, they talk to us via the press not directly to us.

#42 Comment By douglas clark On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:58 am

Refresh,

I didn’t say I’d win an arguement with Natty. Only that I was willing to engage in one.

And if the outcome is that everyone comes out of their homes and starts communicating with their neighbours, getting involved with their local school, their environment, works to remove any warmongers from parliament….. You can see where I would go with it.

It might end up dull, but I think Natty and I are far enough apart to make it interesting. For a taster, I doubt I know your race, and I doubt you care. I’d assume that is reflected. We speak, I think, as people on here. I have never thought of your race, nor hopefully have you mine. That is the point.

That seems to be missing elsewhere in this discussion.

#43 Comment By douglas clark On 7th October, 2007 @ 2:09 am

Refresh,

And if the outcome is that everyone comes out of their homes and starts communicating with their neighbours, getting involved with their local school, their environment, works to remove any warmongers from parliament….. You can see where I would go with it.

I apologise for that, that was not how I read your meaning, and I appropriated it. What you said was a damn sight better than what I implied.

Stupid. Sorry.

#44 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 2:18 am

Douglas - “You may be right about Asian donation being underplayed. But, and I’m going back to you deleted post, you do seem to think that the worlds against you when it really is not.”

I didn’t say the world is against us. It isn’t.

The response which was deleted as I have explained was to show that Asians, Africans, Arabs, Jews etc. have historically and do so today made significant contributions to international causes. As minority people in Europe we shouldn’t be so down on our efforts - it simply deflates people.

The implication made was that Asians don’t take part in wider issues. I showed that wasn’t the case, Asians are as vibrant and active as other communities. I reposted some of the charity links above to show we help internationally and on the UK level.

Asians have helped international causes historically and do so today. Same for local UK issues.

Can we Asians do more - Yes. Do we Asians do too little - No.

Can rich Asians do more - Yes. Do rich Asians do too little - Yes.

I think we need to educate people on what Asians have done historically to try and inspire them to be leaders in various fields. We need more role models.

What I don’t want is for Asians to go round boasting about what they do. Just help the community and don’t brag.

Asians need to get more involved in Education especially Muslims. Asians need more school govenors who are not just yes people.

Do they need to get involved in politics at a time when the electorate don’t like politicians?

How many politicians listen to the electorate? How many Asians who work with MP’s actually put forth community views?

How many Asians in the Media actually report from the community and put forward its views? We have Asians employed at the major newspapers but how many good Asian articles do you see?

In the newsmedia how many Jonathan Freedlands have we produced? Yasmin Alibai-Brown and that is pretty much it. How many Paxman’s - None.

#45 Comment By Refresh On 7th October, 2007 @ 2:32 am

Natty, to be active you do need to be optimistic. Its ironic your last post addressed to me seems to give more reasons why people won’t get involved, which may well be what Zobeda had in mind. The nature of politics is such that things are always changing, and opportunities arise when you least expect it. But the needs of people and communities are pretty much the same across the board.

Douglas, no worries. I may not have been too clear with my comments.

#46 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 2:39 am

Refresh - have read you #1 and 8.

“In all the key areas which are now mainstream, including Education, Climate Change, Poll Tax, Foreign Policy, Animal Testing. Not just in the usual comfort zones.”

We need to understand that when the bulk of Asians arrived, few were well educated. Most had to establish themselves, buy their homes, support family abroad etc.

Getting involved in all the issues above would have been difficult. Some did and some didn’t. With a younger generation now, that is able to better communicate then yes the community will get involved.

The Asian experience in many of the issues you highlight is no different to any other community for example in environmental issues.

“And as for the ‘kuffar’ comment uttered, I have never heard it. How prevalent is it? And if she has or anybody else does it needs to be challenged there and then. Just as with any other bigotted comment. That would be her first step to being active.”

The word ‘kuffar’ isn’t a derogatory word in its original meaning. It simply means someone who does not believe in the first pillar of Islam. However it has been used by ill-educated Muslims as a derogatory term to both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Within Islam many Muslims don’t know about central elements of their faith. From an Islamic point of view actually calling someone kuffar carries serious implications in terms of sin.

“That’s one reason. We need stronger communities, not communities living in fear.”

What we don’t need is the American example everyone seems to love. In America there is a community melt-down going on. Community cohension requires sensible government to assist. Fair policy. Better education on cultural issues.

“As for muslim bashing, perhaps you could (should).”
Oh please no we get enough of that already. How is that going to help?

Minor issues are blown way up in the press. How do you build stronger communities whilst bashing one community?

The problem is too many commentators including a few here think they are experts on Islam and Muslims. Dictating to a community what to do is self-defeating. It is the policy of the deaf. Do as I say not as I do, we have enough of that here!

“Apathy comes for a number of reasons. And ironically politicians are top of my list. They lack inspirarion and aspiration, so they stand little chance of inspiring anyone else.”
Politics and the media have become self-serving and arrogant. They don’t listen to ordinary people, are rude and out of touch with reality and their own communities. The introduction of Lobby Groups to politics is a disaster and makes politicians lazy.

What good are politicians if they don’t listen to the people?

“And if you were Blair you’d have blamed the electorate by now.”
Blair was a disaster for the country and for politics as a whole. Arrogance beyond anything seen. Foreign Policy will take years to repair. Now has gone to create war in the Middle East for the Bushites. How can a man who wrecked havoc in the region be appointed a peace ambassador. Can you really see Blair telling Israel what to do for peace - if he didn’t do whilst in power what will make him do it when he has no power?

#47 Comment By Refresh On 7th October, 2007 @ 2:49 am

Natty, good post. I can’t disagree.

Lets move it forward. How do you get people active? The anti-war demos would have enabled many, not just asians but across the board.

#48 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 2:54 am

Refresh - “Natty, to be active you do need to be optimistic. Its ironic your last post addressed to me seems to give more reasons why people won’t get involved, which may well be what Zobeda had in mind. The nature of politics is such that things are always changing, and opportunities arise when you least expect it. But the needs of people and communities are pretty much the same across the board.”

Why would Muslims get involved with politicians who won’t listen to them? Why would Asians get involved with politicians who won’t even talk to them except for photoshoots and election time.

The Muslim community feels beseiged so does Hazel Blears go to talk to them - not so far. The Hindu community feel they don’t get enough help - did Ruth Kelly go to see them - No. So what the hell do they get paid for as ministers?

Politicians talk at people rather than with people which is what is wrong. Engaging bad politicians just keeps them there for longer.

Look Blears is the Minister who voted for health cuts as a minister and went to campaign with her constituents to stop - yes health cuts in her area. How does this work - I am going to vote for health cuts to keep my ministerial post with Tony, but the people who actualy voted me in want to stop health cuts so I’ll go and campaign with them to stop the cuts I just voted for!!

Asians as a community need to vote out people like Straw, Blears etc.

How can you have someone who side-stepped the UN as a Minister of Justice to uphold law which in another post he side-stepped!!

As Asians we need to get involved in key issues such as education. Getting involved in the slime of politics is a far trickier option. Helping national causes - yes.

#49 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 3:06 am

“Lets move it forward. How do you get people active? The anti-war demos would have enabled many, not just asians but across the board.”

The feeling the electorate have is they are not being listened to. That decisions are taken that they don’t agree with and they have to get in line. This is the Blair legacy.

Major at least tried to bring the people and politicians with him.

We need major change at the political level.

Anti-War Demos left people deflated because Blair just didn’t listen to the people. Neither did his ministers and neither did the opposition.

What we need is just policy for communities and in foreign policy so people feel that politics achieves something.

People need to feel they are listened to.

The major policy issues of the last two decades remain the same, better healthcare, better transportation, solving the Middle East dispute, helping Africa, building more industry.

The fact is that from Thatcher onwards Govt hasn’t listened on any of these.

So communities have become detached from each other and politics. In order to resolve this requires action at community level and political level.

At the grassroots and community this is already underway. At political is hasn’t even started.

The media is a problem as they won’t listen, too many commentators and not enough expression of the communities views especialy for Asians.

Community leaders are detached from the community.

Religous communities are bashed too much and the media luvvies just want a religion free secular robotic society.

At least the Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs stand up for their belief. Good on em.

#50 Comment By Sunny On 7th October, 2007 @ 4:43 am

They may not be as active as Sunny would like, but they are not as inactive as Zubeda suggests.

You have to be pretty stupid to assume from what I said that there were no Asian charities or that they were inactive according to Zubeda. But if you want to live in a parallel universe, fine. Doesn’t mean I’m going to pay any attention. Just don’t fill up my blog with essays please.

#51 Comment By Arif On 7th October, 2007 @ 9:17 am

I’d say that identity is an important explanation for political action by people from many groups. Particularly on issues which is perceived as a threat to your own political group. It is an important way in which previously apolitical people get politicised.

Among the already politicised white lefties on a march you would be likely to find black and Asian lefties as well. Would you Refresh in the “marching as a Muslim” or in the “marching as a lefty” camp? People with broad political concerns expressed through activism are a minority in any community. I don’t get the sense from political involvements I have had that Muslims are particularly different.

There is the HuT argument that Muslims should not vote, as there is also the anarchist argument against voting to legitimise a system which is based on an ideology they consider oppressive. In itself that doesn’t worry me, voting is not the only form of activism, although I vote, I don’t feel it is a profound form of political participation for me.

#52 Comment By Desi Italiana On 7th October, 2007 @ 9:28 am

“At least the Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs stand up for their belief. Good on em.”

What the hell does this have to do with the original post?

#53 Comment By Desi Italiana On 7th October, 2007 @ 9:50 am

Natty:

Some of your points are good, but you contradict yourself. On the one hand, you argue that people ARE involved in activism whether or not it concerns their own people/co-religionists, etc. And that they do not do it as Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims. Then you go on to say, “Good thing Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims are standing up for their religion.”

Anyway, another point:

“Religous communities are bashed too much and the media luvvies just want a religion free secular robotic society.”

You’ve got to be kidding me. The media doesn’t bash religious communities; far from it. They actively paint the pictures of religious communities; and they seek out and contact “community leaders” as sources to speak on behalf of entire communities. They also relish stories of religious based organizations being active, whether in a positive manner or not.

Another point:

“The word ‘kuffar’ isn’t a derogatory word in its original meaning. It simply means someone who does not believe in the first pillar of Islam. However it has been used by ill-educated Muslims as a derogatory term to both Muslims and non-Muslims.”

Fine, but that is not how the word is used, and when people use it, they mean it in a deragatory way, and/or meant to draw distinctions between “them” and “us.” This is very mean, and also offensive, insulting, and disrespectful to others who are not Muslim.

****
Refresh asks a very good and pointed question: how do you get people involved?

First and foremost, education. You have to teach folks-not from the lens of religion, or your “community” whether it be ethnic, religious, linguistic, regional, whatever- about common ideals and the struggles that we can and should care about. This means not talking about “Islamic causes,” or how the US is out to get the “Muslim world.” What needs to be pointed out is that US foreign policy has been pretty much uniform across the board- in Latin America, southeast Asia, and so on. And that they have propped up various jerks across the world- from the Middle East to South America. THIS is what it means to educate people, so that they can see both the particular and the similarities about the many things that are going on in our world. This is one of the ways you build broad solidarity.

Second, you build networks. This can stem from activist orgs whereby the glue is religious/ethnic/blah blah, OR you take those religion, ethnic based orgs and have their outreach folks contact the other ones. Problem with this is then you just have coalitions of special interests groups, rather than a true solidarity that cuts through those very compartments of those specific groups (like there are several “interfaith” coalitions which comprise of religious groups. These coalitions are usually made up of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim orgs. I frankly see no point in this as it doesn’t really connect to the others, and even when they do, it’s all religion based and not all encompassing. This for me is pointless, but that’s just my personal opinion).

But one problem that I have found is that often, ethnic/regional orgs sometimes focus on issues that others don’t really care about. For example, I care about what happened in Gujarat 2002. No one in the US particularly cares about Gujarat (most don’t even know what Gujarat is), and the only groups here that regularly revisit this issue are Desi orgs. We could reach out and inform other less ethnically based orgs, but this is very hard.

But for domestic causes, this should be less difficult.

#54 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 10:05 am

“You have to be pretty stupid to assume from what I said that there were no Asian charities or that they were inactive according to Zubeda.”

You’d have to be pretty out of touch with the Asian Community to assume that there weren’t enough Asians campaigning for ‘other’ issues. On ‘other’ issues Asians have embraced change as quickly as other communities.

Asians have learnt and followed the examples of others to campaign on the environment, Aids, Cancer Research etc. Asians do campaign on local issues.

In politics they are probably more inactive, but the rest of the country is turning apathetic as well.

Asians are vocal about African Debt Relief, helping South America, Latin America etc. But they do it as part of bigger programmes.

You made a statement that they didn’t embrace ‘other’ issues and have failed to prove it. If you have a point then don’t make woolly statements saying they don’t embarce ‘other’ peoples issues and not cite some evidence.

Asians find it frankly hard to get party leaders to their events. Why because when they request such things the leaders automatically pass these requests to Asians to handle. It isn’t from want of trying. After a while they just give up. Asians in politics don’t tend to help Asians to get the ministers to their events. That is a failing of the people not the community.

As I said did Tony Blair or Jack Straw or Ruth Kelly or Hazel Blears now as Community Secretary go to the community? They talk at us not with us. If you contact their office they either won’t reply or brush you off.

So please tell me how are we supposed to engage them and ‘other’ issues better? Come up with some solutions and ideas.

#55 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 10:27 am

Desi Italiana - in all communities there is a them and us attitude. Asians as a whole call white people Ghora as aderogatory term. Sikhs and Hindu’s call Muslims ‘Musla’. It is mean but it happens. White people refer to Asians as ‘Pakis’, Africans as ‘Blacks’ etc. All this shows is the bad nature of people. It isn’t one sided.

First and foremost education - yes - but you can’t teach people outside the religious sphere as it is so important to the Asian community. You have to use the religious organisations and institutions to teach people to campaign on other issues. You’ll be here for many generations if you want to do it away from the religous institutions.

Foreign Policy - people have been saying that for a while and what good has it done. Has US or even UK Foriegn Policy changed for 2 decades? US Foreign Policy is dictated across religous lines you are asking Asians not to do this but what about the others? Do you seriously think the Republican or Democrat Party will list to anyone other that Evangelicals when forming policy? They are a massive voting block. So we educate Asians about US Foreign policy is poor across the board then what? People know that already. It is precisely because no-one will listen that groups then push their own agenda to try and bring that to the forefront. This has happened from frustration.

Building organisations takes time, so people just do it through religous organisations that are already well established.

Regarding Gujrat - you just proved my point the western organisations and media only listen to what they want. Will Fox News cover issues from Gujrat or Palestine or South America from our point of view.

It is incredibly hard to get politicians to listen. I personally know of Muslim Organisations from the UK that have reached out to Karen Armstrong - Bush’s Envoy for the Muslim World - her office won’t even listen. They have tried for the past few years constantly asking her to come over even saying they will schedule events around her diary. Has she visited - no. And she is the Bush Govts envoy to the Muslim World and that is her role.

It isn’t from lack of trying it is from lack of politicians listenting.

Jack Straw was asked by Muslims to discuss the niqab issue and he wouldn’t. The only time he agreed was when The Three Faiths Forum asked him and that was in London with a selected professional audience. He would not discuss it with his own constituents that he had maligned.

#56 Comment By Trofim On 7th October, 2007 @ 10:32 am

Given that Muslims can appear in tens of thousands in what they see as support of their Muslim brothers and sisters, I’d be interested to know how many Muslims attended marches protesting against repression in Burma, that is, in support of their mainly Buddhist brothers and sisters.

#57 Comment By douglas clark On 7th October, 2007 @ 12:16 pm

Natty,

See post 49? You seem, now, to be tackling the broader issue of the disconnect between politicians and the electorate in general. I think that outwith those and such as those - a small cohort loosely described as the Westminster village - politicians in this country have had far too easy a ride on accountability.

If you saw your community as, say Carlisle or perhaps Newcastle, rather than a religious group, I would expect you would feel just as alienated. Politics is a game played remotely from the people they are supposed to represent. It is up to us as citizens, to try to take it back to where it belongs.

Which is what is good about media like PP. People from all walks of life can try to get their message across. And, to be honest, get a considered hearing.

Obviously, that is something worth building on, I think.

#58 Comment By Saqib On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:15 pm

Which is what is good about media like PP. People from all walks of life can try to get their message across. And, to be honest, get a considered hearing.

Douglas…generally yes…although i think Jagdeep is the exception to this rule.

Nutty:

Calling a non-Muslim a kafir is not a sin…that in itself is an ignorant comment. Yes calling another Muslim can be if done without any clear manifestation of ‘kufr’ i.e. unbelief, yet even this is not to be done by us ordinary folk. The central islamic theological view of the world is that the root cause of ‘evil’ is kufr i.e. covering up, denying the divine and our committment and worship of him.

Hence the verb kufr is not meant to be a flattering description. I suppose you could say the word ‘fundamentalist’ is a derogatory towards people of a religious disposition - personally i see nothing wrong with having these terms of discription if they are genuinely rooted in an holistic philosophical tradition or system. As a Muslim i don’t believe in being politically correct about explaining our traditional theology, rather we need to seek to undertsand it the way it was meant and then analyse it.

I do agree that it can be used in inappropriate ways especially in the tense environment we live in today. However in the same way it is right and proper for those of both the left and right to be able to criticise Islam, and what it represents, it is equally right that Muslims be able to do likewise.

‘Given that Muslims can appear in tens of thousands in what they see as support of their Muslim brothers and sisters, I’d be interested to know how many Muslims attended marches protesting against repression in Burma, that is, in support of their mainly Buddhist brothers and sisters.’

Trofim:

I guess the simple answer is not very many - in fact i’d be very surprised if more than a handful did. Does that make Muslims hypocritial - i think not.

The real issue is not only of ‘caring for ones own’ it actually goes a lot deeper. Much of the conflicts in society and the world are down to the individual and collective choices we make in terms of values, beliefs and lifestyle choices.

As an example I as a Muslim do not drink, hence the issue of combating alcohol related crime/violence, the subsequent tax burden we all bear is quite simple - don’t drink!

However this would be wrong to pursue politically as the assumptions upon which i based my initial solution i.e. don’t drink are rooted in a quite different belief and value system which breeds a differnt lifestyle - consciously i should add.

To put the point simply, different equations produce different results, hence i don’t feel that ‘working for the common good’ is a simply indivisable trusim. Anyway, i’m of to watch the Rugby now!

#59 Comment By Natty On 7th October, 2007 @ 1:34 pm

Trofim - Why does every discussion have to become about What Muslims do, What Muslims should do, what Muslims didn’t do??

There are other similar communities in the country who have similar issues why don’t you also ask what they did? Or even what the whole community did?

Douglas - Many people complain about the Muslim community. Zubeda did here but there is no presentation of ideas etc. about what should be done.

Apathy with demonstrations and causes occurs because broadly Govt doesn’t listen. Did they listen to the antiwar, Debt relief for Africa, Middle East peace.

Going to war with Iraq, Tony Blair and Jack Straw promised action on these issues, they delievered nothing. It has been like that for over 20 years now.

People broadly have protested about globalisation, US Policy etc. Did it change anything?

Politics is lurching to the right. Those that take up social causes are bashed as lefties.So what do you do.

Politics is now about making people worry about small local issues and keep them ill-informed about major issues so a small band of lobbies can influence major policy.

No one is going to listen to me about issues that remain outstanding to this day and have gone on for 50 years. Even here it is selective about what they will discuss.

We are told the MCB should embrace freespeech, Blair said he wanted open Govt he didn’t embrace it yet people just accept one doesn’t do it but ignore the the other.

Everyone keeps going on about the Muslim world well every other community only talks about its interests at political, religous or geographic levels so why single one community out?

Muslims do try and engage in wider issues for the community. Last year one of the community reports from Ruth Kelly’s own Dept regarding community cohesion was funded by The Islamic Cultural Centre, yet most people don’t know about this. I saw the report, it was a general report about the topic. Ruth Kelly then went on to bash Muslims for not engaging.

PP is a good site but equally there is a Westminister like club here. Look at how dismisive people can be of views presented here. The views here are mainly centre-right.

You tell me where Politicians will listen to Asians and then we can start trying to engage. On which issues have the Asian community really be invited to engage?

So the Asian Community just goes on with its own causes.

It is like Muslism are told if you want to engage then engage in the political process. Then we are told we need to be careful of Political Islam when they do engage so then the politicians won’t meet them. So it is like a vicious circle.

What are people supposed to do?

#60 Comment By Refresh On 7th October, 2007 @ 8:01 pm

Arif,

“Would you Refresh in the “marching as a Muslim” or in the “marching as a lefty” camp?”

Why the question Arif? Interested to know what impression you have.

#61 Comment By Desi Italiana On 7th October, 2007 @ 8:09 pm

Natty:

Not to be mean, but your comments are getting pretty boring now. Like I said, you do bring up some good points, but I feel like you’ve boxed yourself in by continuing to depart from a group based approach: “We Muslims,” the “Muslim World,” etc,. This is what leads you to make gross generalizations as the following:

“but you can’t teach people outside the religious sphere as it is so important to the Asian community.”

You obviously do not know the Asian “community” inside out, though you continue to speak about it. Are you sure about this? That there are NO Asians who focus on religion and are involved in orgs that speak about human rights for ALL and so on along with others who are not Asian? I’m not denying that there are Asians for whom religion is the primary identity, but your generalization is patently NOT true of all.

“Regarding Gujrat - you just proved my point the western organisations and media only listen to what they want. Will Fox News cover issues from Gujrat or Palestine or South America from our point of view.”

Do you think FOX is the only media we have in the US? It is definately prominent, but as an American, I can tell you other news media that people follow. It’s not always easy getting past FOX and CNN, but there is alternative media that folks resort to (unfornately, not enough). And even mainstream media talk about certain issues. TIME and a few other publications wrote feature stories on the Gujarat violence. I rarely defend the mainstream media, but there HAVE been cases where issues that are not directly related to Americans are discussed (but not enough, IMO).

“People broadly have protested about globalisation, US Policy etc. Did it change anything?”

See, you do bring up good points, but then you defeat yourself by your attitude that religion based orgs is the way to go. This is incredibly self defeating and ineffective, because when these religious orgs pick up a cause, it quickly becomes “religionized”. Again, I have to bring up the issue of Palestine and how that is held up as an “Islamic question”. And from personal experience, I’ve met people who have jumped on the bandwagon of the Palestine cause because it’s a “Muslim cause” without very little understanding of the actual dynamics of Palestine. This is true for other discussions as well.

And then what happens is that when you frame topics in a religious manner, you alienate people who may fundamentally believe in the same thing you do but may not be your co-religionists. And furthermore, it keeps the issue within the confines of religion, which is exactly what you do NOT want to do-you want to raise awareness to ALL.

It IS difficult to make people think about things that do not directly affect them, and sometimes, it’s “community” orgs that tackle these issues. I’m not disagreeing with your critique. But what I’m disagreeing with is your response and solution to this.

#62 Comment By Desi Italiana On 7th October, 2007 @ 8:14 pm

Natty:

“Desi Italiana - in all communities there is a them and us attitude. Asians as a whole call white people Ghora as aderogatory term. Sikhs and Hindu’s call Muslims ‘Musla’. It is mean but it happens. White people refer to Asians as ‘Pakis’, Africans as ‘Blacks’ etc. All this shows is the bad nature of people. It isn’t one sided.”

Agreed, but we were discussing the word kaafir, not what Hindus and Sikhs say. Which is why I focused on the word kaafir.

Is this your way to dismiss what I said? That everyone else does it so it’s ok or that we shouldn’t call out the word kaafir?

#63 Comment By Refresh On 7th October, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

To be fair we were discussing much more than the pejorative use of the word kafir. And I hope we continue to do so.

I too find the use of the word ghora offensive, that too should be stamped out.

What I see from the discussion so far is the lack of courage to reach out. Here in the UK there has been massive anti-muslim media coverage, from what you are saying perhaps its not such a big issue in the US. I am not convinced about that.

If CNN and Fox are what most of the US public is fed on, then clearly that has to be the marker when considering what we see as the mainstream media in the US.

With regards activism, hopefully we’ll get back on track and recognise that Natty has given us plenty of reasons (from his point of view) why people are not getting involved. Not too surprising to note that those same reasons are given by the british public in general. It is more of a statement about the nature of politics as it stands in UK.

My argument is very simple, you cannot let the current crop of politicians be the end of it all. Its the negativity I would stand up against.

#64 Comment By Desi Italiana On 8th October, 2007 @ 6:34 am

“If CNN and Fox are what most of the US public is fed on, then clearly that has to be the marker when considering what we see as the mainstream media in the US.”

They are not. They are the most famous, and often the butt of jokes (FOX much more so than CNN). CNN has a tiny bit more credibility than FOX.

People here- if they can find the time after they are done working- will watch their local news on TV in the evening. Or, if they read the news, it’s usually the big dailies in the local/regional area. They are not FOX and CNN.

Not to say that these local dailies are always precise or offer competing points of view-many of the articles are from the AP wire, meaning they are the same content and reproduced in big national and regional newspapers.

People overseas think we are fed on a daily diet of CNN and FOX, and I think this is so because the American news channels that you get abroad are FOX and CNN (I remember watching them in Italy late at night). So I understand if people have this impression, but it’s not true.

#65 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 8:26 am

Desi Italiana - As my comments are now getting boring I’ll keep this brief.

“but you can’t teach people outside the religious sphere as it is so important to the Asian community.”

You obviously do not know the Asian “community” inside out, though you continue to speak about it. Are you sure about this?

What I actually said was that in order to advance wider issues it is easier to use the Asian Religous Orgs as they are already well eastablished. You can’t teach outside this as you’d have to establish these orgs. Yes there are people outside of the religious sphere but are there numbers as big as the religous numbers.

It is much easier to talk about Cancer Research, Heart Disease, Blood Donation, Global Poverty etc through the Asian Religous Orgs than other Asian Orgs.

Apologies for the boring comments. Signing off now.

#66 Comment By Trofim On 8th October, 2007 @ 9:06 am

Saqib

Re not drinking. I think you might like to have a word with my mum and dad, 89 and 90 respectively. They have a quiet drink or two every night, a drop of sherry before dinner, perhaps a glass of wine with it, later half a bitter and a scotch before bed. In fact they’ve been having a couple of drinks every night now for, let’s say, for the sake of argument, 70 years. If you contact me we can go and see them together, and you can give them a little lecture on the error of their ways. Even better, we can go to a little pub I know on the River Severn in Worcestershire. On a sunny day like today you will find people sitting having a quiet drink and some dinner, waving to the occasional longboat or steamer, children playing on the grass, hens and ducks importuning for food, and peacocks strutting around. The folks there would really welcome a lecture on the evils of the demon drink.

#67 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 9:38 am

Trofim,

You may also want to look at these stats before going on:

As far back as 2002 it was estimated that it cost the NHS £3 billion to treat Alcohol miuse:
[14] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1844363.stm

The Impact of Alcohol on the NHS:
[15] http://www.ias.org.uk/resources/factsheets/nhs.pdf

Some more facts and figures:
[16] http://www.wrecked.co.uk/noframes/trash.html

Around half of all pedestrians aged 16-60 who are killed in road accidents have more booze in their blood stream than the legal drink-drive limit.

Nearly half of household fires are linked with people who have been drinking.

Alcohol is a factor in at least seven per cent of drownings

Pretty funny huh!

How about this:
[17] http://news.independent.co.uk/health/article2714171.ece

The NHS Information Centre said there were 187,000 hospital admissions for alcohol-related conditions in 2005-06 compared with 89,000 in 1995-96.

Dr Ian Thompson, from Glasgow, said the total cost of alcohol misuse was £7.3bn. “Today 24 people will die where alcohol is the direct cause. In the last 20 years deaths have doubled,” he said. “This is unacceptable.”

So the cost of Alcohol Abuse to the NHS has more than doubled in 5 years from £3 billion to £7.3 Billion and rising.

This of course is the cost of treatment, Alcohol related crime, family breakdown and social issues is also on the increase.

We all pay for that.

But hey that is pretty funny huh!

#68 Comment By Saqib On 8th October, 2007 @ 10:42 am

Trofim:

With the greatest of respect i wasn’t talking about your elderly mum and dad, simply about the social consequences of alcohol being consumed by society at large.

#69 Comment By Sofia On 8th October, 2007 @ 11:27 am

I’ve been on the end of health apathy and our communities..unless i affiliate myself to a particular group..which in Asian areas means religious groups..i will get f all done. I work with Muslim, Sikh and Hindu groups..all separately..how sad is that…makes me mad that I grew up with friends from all over and yet nowadays kids are growing up without socialising with people of different backgrounds…

#70 Comment By Chris Stiles On 8th October, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

Natty -

Asians as a whole call white people Ghora as aderogatory term. Sikhs and Hindu’s call Muslims ‘Musla’. It is mean but it happens. White people refer to Asians as ‘Pakis’, Africans as ‘Blacks’ etc. All this shows is the bad nature of people. It isn’t one sided.

Quite so, and I think we can all agree that we would be better off without such terms. It doesn’t in any way make ‘kuffar’ less derogatory or ‘mean’.

Sunny said:
As a proportion Asians were quite tight-fisted.

Which is a statistical rather than the absolute claim you seem to take it as. Trotting out examples to the contrary doesn’t actually disprove Sunny’s assertion.

#71 Comment By sonia On 8th October, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

Desi - brilliant points in no. 9. and no its not cheesy at all.

and to Sunny on point 16:

not surprising at all. also a good indicator is look at the proportion of university educated asians in the UK who work for charities/NGOs/social enterprise ( not very well paid jobs but ‘ethical’) compared to those who work in very high paid jobs in places like management consultancies, big corporates/investment banks - ( often much less ethical but very well paying) -
and it is pretty obvious. of course parents and families prefer one to have a ‘professional’ career. those outside the approved of doctor-dentist/economist/IT/corporate world know full well that families when speaking to rellies back home find it much harder to justify what their kid is upto. when i go to bangladesh, everyone is like, “well you’re not a doctor like your sister - what is it you actually do?” ..”..oh you don’t have a professional job..ehh..”

re: the islamic charity business - i find - for example my sister- only thinks of charity as within the ‘islam’ box - and as ‘zakat’ specifically - so she will give money to mosques, islamic aid or relief or whoever, make sure nothing goes to oxfam that could go to the above, and starts making a fuss when i give my money to “secular” causes. i find that very limiting and hardly ethical - actually. if you only see ‘charity’ as duty - and as a box ticking exercise..well that isn’t very ethical in my opinion.

take one look at a muslim country like bangladesh and you see what kind of hypocrisy there exists when it comes to “social welfare”. eid is a particularly good example. the amount of shopping that gets done. and eid -al-adha - all these people competing to slaughter 2 or 3 cows, what sense is that making? a gorging on meat from a bunch of already gluttonous lot. how much of it actually goes to the poor? its all a song and dance about who was more pious in a highly visible way. pah.

and maybe someone can tell me how many high society weddings in karachi or dhaka or wherever are inviting ‘the poor’ to the wedding feasts. ha. they’d not be able to afford the kind of gold we like to see our brides lavished with.

#72 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

“Which is a statistical rather than the absolute claim you seem to take it as. Trotting out examples to the contrary doesn’t actually disprove Sunny’s assertion.”

I didn’t take it as absolute. The assertion was a generalisation that isn’t based on fact.

I don’t think the situation is as bad as it is being made out. There is a big generalisation being made that Asians don’t support other causes and I highlighted they do in big numbers. There are major Asian charities that do work across the board and worldwide.

Also there are other factors as I highlighted. People are complaining that Asians give to religous causes and as I highlighted this is due to the lack of State Funding and hence they just get on with it and fund it themselves.

As a community Asians give far more time and money to voluntary projects than most other communities.

The better question is how can they do more on wider social issues.

#73 Comment By sonia On 8th October, 2007 @ 12:48 pm

“As a community Asians give far more time and money to voluntary projects than most other communities.”

and what information are you basing this on Natty? are you an expert on all the volunteering that happens - by all individuals, groups,”communities” etc. in the UK Natty? If so, i’d be very pleased to hear some more. and are we talking about groups which get CVS funding from local borough councils ( worked out very well financially for some groups -that has)all the way to people working for third sector organisations?

#74 Comment By sonia On 8th October, 2007 @ 12:49 pm

just asking you know, because it would be very useful to have a more concrete, on the ground understanding of what you’re referring to.

#75 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 12:54 pm

Sonia - you are being very unfair to Islamic charities who do very worthwhile work. In fact a number don’t even charge admin costs with the directors paying out of their own pockets.

The Edhi Foundation is widely respected and the man who runs the charity won’t take anything despite the massive sums that pass through his hands. He complained recently when they opened an office in Afghanistan and brought platic chairs saying the dignitaries should have sat on the floor and the money spent on chairs used on the poor.

Is Oxfam any better than any Islamic or Sikh or Hindu Charity? If so how?

Asians are being asked to adopt an example that you don’t ask any other section of society to adopt. With respect Christians give to their Churches charity money for distribution.

So why do Asian Charities and contributions have to be different?

Also I think you’ll find that secular causes and charities collect money in different ways and society as a whole contributes to those. They will collect at Supermarkets, Shopping Centres etc. And all walks of society contribue towards those.

In the home environment people give to their own causes irrespective of race. Out and about people give to secular causes.

#76 Comment By Ravi Naik On 8th October, 2007 @ 1:09 pm

“As a community Asians give far more time and money to voluntary projects than most other communities.”

Asians are not a community, but a set of communities with very different levels of integration and success both academically and financially. You also do not distinguish between different generations of immigrants, instead you are mixing all brown people together under “Asians” and in this process making gross over-generalisations.

#77 Comment By Ravi Naik On 8th October, 2007 @ 1:13 pm

“Is Oxfam any better than any Islamic or Sikh or Hindu Charity? If so how?”

Religious-based charities seem misguided by definition. And I would never contribute to one.

#78 Comment By Ravi Naik On 8th October, 2007 @ 1:23 pm

“The word ‘ghora’ is not a derogatory term. It simply means white person.”

The term “Black” is not offensive as well, unless you object to “white” and “brown”. In fact, I think the term “african” or even “asian” is more offensive, because it insinuates that you are not from these shores, even if you were born and raised here.

I also think that terms carry significance if they are uttered by a majority to humiliate/discriminate a minority. In that sense, kaffir, nigger, sand nigger, paki fits the bill. “Gora” could be used a derrogatory term in India, but I would say it has little or no influence in the US or even here.

#79 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 1:25 pm

I give up!

If I say anything about just Muslims or just Sikh or just Hindu then people complain that I just refer to just one. If I say anything about Asians then people complain I don’t differtiate!

No winning here.

Sonia - This country as a whole is increasing the amount it gives in Charity according to figures you can get at The Charity Commission. The bulk of the money goes to a very small % of charities, figures at The Charity Commission website.

As regards Asians - Muslims have to give a minimum amount in Charity and are encouraged to give on top of that. Similar for Sikhs and I assume Hindus - I may be wrong. On top of this they contribute towards their places of worship which most of you here don’t like them doing but they get no state funding. Churches have historically had this and thus their income from land given to them etc. is quite high.

I am going to get told off by Sunny again but hey a ban is probably worth it to show this:

CoE had historic assets of £4 billion. The portfolio of assets includes stock market investments, and commercial, residential and rural property investments.
Source - CoE website

Our religous communities don’t have this asset base. So taking into account the time people spend helping religous orgs and charities and secular charities, Asians do alot.

Most places of worship are maintained by the community of a daily basis, they do some of the repair works themselves and all this takes time.

It depends how you quantify.

#80 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 1:32 pm

“However, ‘kaffir’ is institutionally Islamic and undoubtedly derogatory.

This is a key difference. Enlightened Sikhs and Hindus and others can argue that using derogatory terms to insult others is un-Sikh, or un-Hindu, but Muslims cannot - therefore, hatred of the ‘other’ is more prevalent in the Muslim community/world.”

We’re back to Muslim bashing I see. So there are no Enlightened Muslims in your world?

Your statement is completely false.

Kaffir is not a derogatory term. It simply means someone who does not believe in Allah and Muhammad as a prophet.

In the Jewish religion there are Jews and Gentiles. Gentile isn’t a derogatory term.

If people use kaffir in a derogatory way that is a misuse of the word. Muslims also call other Muslims kaffir like black people call each other nigger.

Mosque was a derogatory word used by Spainiards towards Muslim places of worship but today it is just a normal word for a place of worship.

The meaning and the modern use of the word are two different things and you are just suing it to put yourself above Muslims.

I see the communal themes are coming out.

#81 Comment By sonia On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

76. ravi - well said

#82 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

The basis of Islamic imperialism, Islamic tax on non-believers and the destruction of non-Muslim places of worship (like the giant Buddhas) is derived from a hatred of the ‘kaffir’. All Muslim countries have laws detrimental to ‘kaffirs’ based on Islamic law and precedent. Like I said, ‘anti-kuffarism’ is Islamically institutionalised.

Bollocks. If you understood anythign about Islam then you’d know about these things you are just going on Media bias!

Yes the Bhabari Mosque was destroyed by Muslims wasn’t it!

Religions across the world have destroyed each others places of worship but you just want to slam Muslims.

The Jizaya Tax on non-Muslims is there for a reason. Non-Muslims pay slightly more tax (a few %) but then they are not expected to take part in defending Islamic land.

In the UK those in the forces get various subsidies which the normal population don’t. Isn’t that hidden Jizaya??

If Muslims are unable to defend the people they are expected to return the entire sum of money.

Does Saudi Arabia charge expat-workers any extra Tax? No it doesn’t charge then any tax. So your logic is crap.

Again as I said to you the word kaffir itself means one who does not accept Allah and Mohammad as the prophet. That isn’t derogatory if it is then the word Gentile is derogatory.

Who are you kidding - you are just throwing around wild facts.

The term black when usued in certain way and connotation is normal and when used in a certain way and connotationis derogatory. This is called linguistics.

Anyway in the Enlightened Hindu and Sikh community I have never heard anyone speak out against derogatory terms used against Muslims.

#83 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:03 pm

Sonia -”76. ravi - well said”

So isn’t the original statement a gross generalisation that Muslims don’t do enough for other causes? Where is the evidence?

If I generalise then so does the whole basis of the original start to the thread.

If it is to do with Muslims and negative then it is ok to generalise and if we say anythign positive abaout Asians then you people want a precise breakdown.

#84 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:12 pm

So Sonia if Islam says thatother religions places of worship should be destroyed then explain how the Pyramids surivived as did Hindu Temples and Sikh Gurwara’s, Synagogues and Chruches across North Africa, Turkey, the Holy Land and India?

Muslims have ruled there so history doesn’t bare the logic out that you are applauding.

Some of the biggest communities of Jewish people have lived in Muslim lands for over one thousand years.

Yes some Muslism have been zealots but you are again applying a generalisation which you wouldn’t to any other faith.

#85 Comment By The Common Humanist On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

Point of Order:
I think in the last 12 months or so a large section of the non-muslim comminuty has realised what exactly ‘kuffar/kaffir’ (and whatever variations therein) means and, although the orginial perhaps wasn’t intended that way, its use is often derogtory towards non muslims.

TCH

#86 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:19 pm

TCH - I agree with what you say and it shouldn’t happen. But you cannot blame and entire religion for this.

Actually if Sonia knew anythign about Islam she would know the correct term for Jews and Christians is The Poeple of the Book. If the idiotic Muslims who use the term so liberally knew this then they wouldn’t use it.

Also once again I say that use of the term is a big sin if used incorrectly. Scholars warn against using the word.

Muslims use the term Paki as well as a derogatory term to each other.

What we have though is that this is being used to bash Muslims by a few people here.

I could do the same for oter faiths but where does that get us.

#87 Comment By shahid khan On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:23 pm

As Islam is such a bad faith kindly explain why most of the older religous books from the Jewish and Christian period come from the Islamic World?

Did any of you get down to The Sacred Exhibition at the British Library?

Well there were quite a few Bibles and Torahs from across the Muslim world. Not many from the Christian world, so history shows us that Muslims have been tolerant in their approach to other faiths.

Again when the Jews were expelled from Spain then it was the Ottoman Sultan who sent ships to rescue both Jews and Muslims.

History doesn’t back what is being implied here.

#88 Comment By shahid khan On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:27 pm

Because it’s not a ‘Sikhism’ or ‘Hinduism’ issue. Their scriptures don’t justify their use of drogatory terms.

What about the cast system that is derogatory to many and is institutionalised racism. That is why so many are turning away isn’t it.

Hindu History across SE Asia is hardly flattering and the wars by Hindus thousands of years ago testify to its imperalistic nature.

Hindu hsitory is full of war and treating people badly so your hardly have a leg to stand on.

How many religions thrived within the Hindu empire maybe just Bhuddist. Nothing else survived. People were enslaved and generations made to live for centuries as though they were beneath anything that existed.

#89 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

This is all way off topic and isn’t helpful debating.

The original discussion was how much Muslims help other causes.

#90 Comment By Sofia On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:41 pm

it was actually about apathy…but agree with you on off topic…
You can pick out historical facts that aren’t complementary of any religion…how does that help when talking of how to get ppl to think past themselves now

#91 Comment By Sofia On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:52 pm

Shahid…i don’t think arguing by blame is the best type of debate. There are lots of events in Muslim history that as a Muslim I’m not very proud of..so we could go on like this forever..its not very constructive….

#92 Comment By Sunny On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:56 pm

I’ve deleted ‘gyatri’ comments. It was our old friend ‘Muzumdar’ again… desperate as he is to constantly come here and type under different names.

#93 Comment By justforfun On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:56 pm

bas now Gyatri - or can I call you Chabal.

Sabastien Chabal - the guru of interfaith dialogue

[18] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uh_aWqm2I0

By the way I like the haircut.

Justforfun

#94 Comment By The Common Humanist On 8th October, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

I see Muslim vs Hindu supremicism has reared its ugly many armed, sworded, hijab’d and turbanned statuesque form………..

In the spirit of toleration on display:
1. Hindu’s should be ashamed of the caste system.

2. Muslims of the poor position of women in islamic societies.

[Please feel free to insert own derogatory comment about Common Humanists]

#95 Comment By Zubeda On 8th October, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

Natty -I agree -the original discussion arising from my comments have unfortunately been lost.

Why?

I assume this is because when you ‘hear’ or ‘read’ about a comment someone has made from a religious/ethnic identity perspective (thus my comment was made as a Brit, Muslim involved in lefty politics) then people either want to
a) criticise and get pedantic about Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, non faith people etc before you you’ve even started discussing the topic and bring in their own original viewpoints
b)justify how these aforementioned minority groups do alot/very little by providing the evidence.

My viewpoint as a Muslim, involved in many anti war marches working with white people can apply to other minorities/faith groups who often do not get involved in other people’s ‘battles’ as they do not see that as their ‘battle’ and shrug their shoulders. It should not be a given that someone is demonstrating against the war in Iran/Iraq/Afghanistan because they are Muslims, socialists, Marxists etc but because our collective values deem us to make a stand as a society. ( I personally always see more non- Muslims involved in these marches though, and wonder if it’s apathy!)

Such messages are made more powerful when you see banners from groups that may not be seen as being ‘friendly’ to a particular group due to such participants perceived indifference to the concerns of some groups of people and being seen as hypocrites to another group of people. One particular example is the “Jews for Justice in Palestine” who regularly make appearances. And so, it becomes harder for some people to label others and call them names (kuffar, Jews) so that we transcend some of our differences and work on the values we may agree on.

#96 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 5:26 pm

Zubeda - I am especially interested in hearing what you think can change in the Muslim community? You may be interested to learn that in fact there is movement within the community about also contributing to other causes and charities other than Muslim ones. Indeed this is already happening in volume.

First of all I still think we should be proud of what we have achieved as Asians (Hindu, Sikh, Muslim) which is why I was highlighting it. Those very same people you refer to that help other causes also highlight their contribution which is why we know about it. They are seasoned campaigners so to a degree they make clear they are helping.

Also the ‘lefty’ community as you put it has been established longer. Asking our community to do things even faster isn’t going to happen. Our elders are pretty conservative and so this change will take at least another generation.

In West London at least I have seen great signs that the communities are doing this. In Manchester as well. That is why I wanted to highlight this.

At the moment due to problems within the Muslim community and also the view of Islam outside then I think Muslims need to work to put their own house in order. That has to be a priority. We need to reach out as Muslims to show people we can contribute towards society. At the moment that has to be done as Muslims due to the problems we face within our community and also the view people have of Islam.

If we start doing other things then people will say they are not putting issues in their own house in order and doing other things. For example the Islam Is Peace Campaign has already been maligned by right wing bodies in the USA. Even though they are trying to correct the issues of terrorism.

In Saudi Arabia the leading scholars who have been condemning terrorism for over 15 years now have launched an offcial website to distance Islam from extremism.

But the biggest priority for the community has to be to distance itself adn remove extremism and this is a big task.

Otherwise the pressure on the community will just build and build.

The other big need is outreach and much good work has come out of East London Mosque and Regents Park Mosque. They have held big exhibitions which been very well received and have attracted huge numbers of visitors. Particularly enthusiastic have been the Jewish community who have attended in great numbers.

The things you’d like working for others issues would need to come. Not to put too fine a point on it one of the main reasons Islam spread as a religion was because it was trusted.

We need to get back to a point where other people want to live with Muslims.

To my mind it is more important to work towards the end of violent actions that are done in the name of Islam than other issues. This is the major issue which faces the community and needs to be addressed.

“One particular example is the “Jews for Justice in Palestine” who regularly make appearances. And so, it becomes harder for some people to label others and call them names (kuffar, Jews) so that we transcend some of our differences and work on the values we may agree on.”

First we shouldn’t call anyone names. Jews are people of the book according to Islam.

Second on common social issues there is nothing stopping people but the main issue is that we lack education. Until we sort out our education there is little point asking people to understand about core values.

Look forward to hearing your views.

#97 Comment By Rumbold On 8th October, 2007 @ 5:34 pm

Natty:

“If Islam says thatother religions places of worship should be destroyed then explain how the Pyramids surivived as did Hindu Temples and Sikh Gurwara’s, Synagogues and Chruches across North Africa, Turkey, the Holy Land and India?”

As I understand it, Islamic law forbids the repair of existing non-Muslim places of worship, or the building of new ones. However, as you rightly point out, this policy was not enforced by large numbers of Muslim rulers. Some even gave money to help such buildings (just as some mosques were built with money given by non-Muslims rulers in other lands).

“Some of the biggest communities of Jewish people have lived in Muslim lands for over one thousand years.”

Indeed. The medieval Jewish traveller Benjamin of Tudela estimated that 40,000 Jews lived in Baghdad. However, the jizya was a real hardship for some of the poorer ones.

Shahid khan:

“How many religions thrived within the Hindu empire maybe just Bhuddist. Nothing else survived.

I agree with you about the caste system and imperialist Hindu expansion, but you can hardly accuse the Hindu empire of supressing other ‘world’ religions, as none of them had been invented at the time, or else had not reached India.

#98 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 6:04 pm

“As I understand it, Islamic law forbids the repair of existing non-Muslim places of worship, or the building of new ones.”

This isn’t true as people of other faiths did build their places of worhip. You see these in North Africa, Turkey etc.

Within Islamic Law there is an area of the Arabian Peninsula where there should be no building of other faiths places of worship. This is why Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow other places of worship to be built. However this rule only applies to an area of the Arabian Penisula.

Within Islam Shahid should know that a Muslims is forbidden to insult another persons belief as that person may then insult Islam and Allah. The sin here would be with the Muslim.

Also this is the reason I say that the number one priority for Muslims is to distance Islam from extremism and to reachout to others.

Once this happens Muslims will feel more comfortable about working together on other issues. However with the community feeling under siege then to bring it out of its shell this is needed. In order for Muslims to advance as well as Sikh and Hindu communities needs Muslim to participate in Education to better qualify themselves.

Here I think the Hindu and Sikh community excel in terms of Asians.

I think the Blair Government failed here and then expected the community to sort out the mess.

#99 Comment By Jai On 8th October, 2007 @ 6:11 pm

If Islam says thatother religions places of worship should be destroyed then explain how the Pyramids surivived as did Hindu Temples and Sikh Gurwara’s,

1. Pyramids are essentially mausoleums, not places of worship.

2. Rather than asking commenters to use guesswork, it may be worthwhile actually referring to historical records detailing specifically why Muslim rulers did not destroy the Pyramids. Let’s not resort to rhetoric, assumptions and conjecture.

3. You may want to research the age of the Hindu temples currently remaining in Indian territories that fell under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughals respectively, along with regions that were generally subject to Islamic incursions. They’re not necessarily thousands of years old.

4. There are mosques in northern India which were deliberately built directly on top of Hindu temples, eg. at Mathura.

5. There are Muslim edifices built directly from the remains of Hindu temples which were destroyed by the attackers, eg the Qutb Minar complex.

6. Some well-known gurdwaras remain in Pakistan, but many do not. Sanjeev Bhaskar experienced this himself during his trip to his family’s ancestral town as depicted in his recent TV series (and as described in the more detailed book accompanying the documentary) — the gurdwara had disappeared completely.

Hindu History across SE Asia is hardly flattering and the wars by Hindus thousands of years ago testify to its imperalistic nature…..Hindu hsitory is full of war

They were wars between Hindus, not against people of other faiths.

How many religions thrived within the Hindu empire maybe just Bhuddist.

Exactly which “Hindu empire” is being referred to here ? Ashoka ? Chandragupta Maurya ? The huge swathes of the subcontinent that became dominated by Buddhism for centuries, prior to the revival of “Brahminical” Hinduism ? The Rajput alliance prior to the rise of the Delhi Sultanate ?

#100 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 6:14 pm

“However, the jizya was a real hardship for some of the poorer ones.”

The Jiyzya isn’t a bad system, in some cases I think it was enforced badly. Western Govts have adopted the system and by hidden benefits provide Defence Force recruits with additional benefits.

Islamic Taxation only applies above a threashold, much like the modern tax system in this country.

If people couldn’t afford to pay they were outside of the fold. I think the Aghlabids are who you refer to when you say they enforced it unfairly.

Any law depends on fair enforcement from the people.

Benjamin of Tudela’s travels were paid for by wealthy Jews in Andalusia and he died I think and is buried in Damascus or at least Syria. His tales are very enlightening.

Many of the companions of Muhammad were close to Jews and indeed the 2nd Caliph of the Muslims help to clear dirt and mess with his own hands from Temple Mount. He also allowed the Jews to return to Central Jerusalem after the Christians made them live away from the area.

I have read of Jewish Leaders telling Jews from Europe to come to Muslim Lands and prosper.

Muslims need to get back to this point and that is a priority over other issues.

BTW It is also worth remembering that it was the Wahabi Scolars who warned against extremism. It was actually intellectuals frm Egypt who inspired Bin Laden.

[19] http://www.thewahhabimyth.com/

Is good background for this.

I would also refer you to a highly recommended book called Sacred Freedom which outlines freedom within Islam. The web link is down.

#101 Comment By Natty On 8th October, 2007 @ 6:21 pm

Jai - I don’t dispute that but as someone else said each religion has it’s own dark history. Focussing on one and not the others is unfair.

Although I don’t want to go into it here as it is just gonna cause trouble, Hindu history in SE Asia has similar examples.

Some Muslims destroyed some places of worship for other faiths and other Muslim rulers built them.

Muslims even today have paid for Hindu places of worship to be built. We can go round arguing and it doesn’t take us forward.

It is only within an area of the Arabian Peninsula that non-Muslim places are not permitted.

BTW mausoleums are not permitted with Islam so if the destruction law did exist then they would have been destoryed and Muslims ruled over Egypt during the time of the companions of Muhammad. The same applies to the Buhddist Staues. If thye chose not to destroy them then are the later generation more knowledgable?

The Taleban destroyed the statues asa statement under guise of religion. If it was so important to them they would have done it earlier. So proof it wasn’t based on religion.

Just because someone says they do something in the name of religion doesn’t mena it is sanctioned by that religion.

#102 Comment By Jai On 8th October, 2007 @ 6:39 pm

BTW mausoleums are not permitted with Islam so if the destruction law did exist then they would have been destoryed

We’re talking about the destruction of places of worship, not mausoleums. And if mausoleums per se are not permitted (whether Islamic or belonging to any other religion), notable violations of this injunction are the Taj Mahal, Emperor Humayun’s tomb, and the tomb of Empress Noorjahan’s father, amongst others.

However, Rumbold’s point is well-made:

Islamic law forbids the repair of existing non-Muslim places of worship, or the building of new ones.

It basically encourages “indirect destruction by default”. However, historical exceptions (some would say “violations of this law”) by more liberal Muslim rulers existed within the subcontinent, as Rumbold has also correctly mentioned.

#103 Comment By Jai On 8th October, 2007 @ 6:46 pm

Anyway, all this is off-topic, particularly as the main article is focused on the proposed necessity for Muslims to engage in a greater level of self-critique amongst themselves. I certainly do not think this should be used and exploited by people as an opportunity to engage in more “Islam bashing”. There is currently enough of that kind of activity in this part of the world as it is (and not all of it is necessary sincere or constructive).

Muslims discussing what they regard as being downsides to Islam or more questionable aspects of conduct by Muslims (present and historical) is one thing, but it’s not right for others to jump on the bandwagon. I think the ethical thing to do would be to let you guys hammer all this out amongst yourselves.

#104 Comment By Jai On 8th October, 2007 @ 6:47 pm

used and exploited by people

By “people”, I’m referring specifically to non-Muslims, obviously.

#105 Comment By zohra On 8th October, 2007 @ 11:26 pm

Zubeda

Quirky and nice to see you on here.

I think I understand the spirit from which you’re coming from with your email and what I would say in response is that it is not so unusual for the impetus for a person’s journey into politics/activism, in my experience, to come from a self-absorbed place.

Would you agree that it is often after this initial engagement that deeper politicization can come?

The path I’ve seen more than one person travel is the initial springboard through personal connection (which can be acting on behalf of another as an ally too) being followed by a period of learning and exploration - including recognizing synergies and connections to other causes.

I’m not as convinced that this is strictly a ‘minority’ path as you seem to be, though I do recognize that many people are stalled at the self-absorbed place.

I think it takes time to shift into the place where other people’s hurts and oppressions are felt as an extension/reflection of our own. Hopefully we won’t all have to live in a war camp before we recognize the dangers of political apathy: [20] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came…

And here’s to supporting others even when we don’t see a benefit for ourselves.

#106 Comment By Desi Italiana On 9th October, 2007 @ 3:47 am

I’m not sure how the conversation spiralled into the “Hindu empire” vs the “Moghul Empire”, how many gurdwaras were destroyed, mandhirs, etc, but whatever.

Maybe Shahid Khan, Natty, and a couple of Hindutva guys and some Khalistanis too can get together in a room and argue amongst themselves about issues like these and let others who strive for progress, change, and justice based on a set of common rights for all human beings (like basic necessities- food, water, shelter- guaranteed for every human being wheter in Africa, Latin America, and wherever, the right to freely elect who you want without outside powers interfering with your choices, just laws applied to all across the board, the right to worship what and who you want without hurting others, and the opportunities to go where you want and allow you to feel that you can/have done what you want in life, a life free of violence and occupation, etc) get together and start moving forward.

Anyway.

So are there any orgs that are “multi-ethnic” or all-encompassing so to speak that have an international outlook and mobilize for these issues? I know that there are some great virtual communities that build links for an inter and national agendas. But any that are not virtual?


Article printed from Pickled Politics: http://www.pickledpolitics.com

URL to article: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/1431

URLs in this post:
[1] Guardian article: http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/sunny_hundal/2007/10/muslims_should_embrace_fre.html
[2] two years ago: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/139
[3] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6901365.stm: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6901365.stm
[4] http://www.hindu.com/2004/03/04/stories/2004030406611803.htm: http://www.hindu.com/2004/03/04/stories/2004030406611803.htm
[5] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4052807.stm: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4052807.stm
[6] http://www.irw.org/whatwedo/health/makingmalariahistory: http://www.irw.org/whatwedo/health/makingmalariahistory
[7] http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pakistan/h05011201.html: http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pakistan/h05011201.html
[8] http://pnnonline.org/article.php?sid=7599: http://pnnonline.org/article.php?sid=7599
[9] http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pakistan/h05090702.html: http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pakistan/h05090702.html
[10] http://www.bapscare.org/aboutus/index.htm: http://www.bapscare.org/aboutus/index.htm
[11] http://www.charityportal.org.my/article.cfm?id=61: http://www.charityportal.org.my/article.cfm?id=61
[12] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/6920454.stm: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/6920454.stm
[13] http://www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire/content/articles/2007/07/30/muslim_flood_relief_feature.shtml: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire/content/articles/2007/07/30/muslim_flood_relief_feature.shtml
[14] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1844363.stm: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/1844363.stm
[15] http://www.ias.org.uk/resources/factsheets/nhs.pdf: http://www.ias.org.uk/resources/factsheets/nhs.pdf
[16] http://www.wrecked.co.uk/noframes/trash.html: http://www.wrecked.co.uk/noframes/trash.html
[17] http://news.independent.co.uk/health/article2714171.ece: http://news.independent.co.uk/health/article2714171.ece
[18] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uh_aWqm2I0: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uh_aWqm2I0
[19] http://www.thewahhabimyth.com/: http://www.thewahhabimyth.com/
[20] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came…: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came…