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  • What will jolt us Muslims out of denial?


    by Fe'reeha
    16th November, 2005 at 3:18 am    

    I have become so used to watching and listening horrifically misinterpreted versions of Islam on media, that it takes serious jolts to get me out of lethargic indifference.

    But the latest footage of Sadiq Khan, one of the suicide bombers, on Channel 4 News was just plain astounding.

    In a clearly brainwashed message, he says:

    Our so-called scholars today are content with their Toyotas and their semi-detached houses. They tell us ludicrous things like ‘you must obey the law of the land’.

    What is the state of mind of someone who thinks that following the law is actually “ludicrous”?

    I am surprised at those Muslims, including me, at times, who just shrug and channel their energies at proving remote we are from “these type of so called Muslims”.

    A large number of people go on to say that this is only a “small fraction” of Muslims. True, it is a small fraction but this minor portion of Muslim population has resulted in problems of major proportions for Muslims around the world.

    I still hear hackneyed theories of western media’s conspiracies to portray a bad image of Muslims. These debates are followed by the lame excuses of British foreign policies.

    I still remember the post 7/7 days, when Pakistani circles would not waste ten seconds in pointing out the one bomber who was of Somalian origin just to prove the point that not “all four” bombers were from Pakistan. Pakistanis were upset so became defensive, and then became upset for being made to feel defensive.

    All of the Muslim community was hell bent on proving, “these people are not one of us, they are not true representatives of who we are.”

    What exactly will it take to make the Muslim community need to understand the implications of the problem this constant denial has caused? I say if a bunch of misguided Muslims have created terror on the streets of London, proclaiming it in the name of my religion, it is indeed my problem as well.

    Who has given these people the right to flaunt their absolutely ignorant and blood-ridden views on mainstream media in the name of “my” religion? And more importantly, where can I find someone to stop them?

    While Muslim scholars do not waste much time in labelling different sects (Shia, Sunni) as non-Muslims, and declaring every other secular person as an infidel, how long will it take for our preachers to come out and shake our nation and tell them how wrong the notions of “jihad” have been represented by these young, angry and completely brainwashed Muslims?


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    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. Global Voices Online

      [...] Pickled Politics on why the denial within the community of Muslims is not going to help much. [...]


    2. Englishman in New York

      [...] Pickled Politics is fast becoming one of my all-time favorite blogs. It’s a group blog for young, progressive British Asians. Here is Fereeha talking about Muslim denial of responsibility for suicide bombings: I still remember the post 7/7 days, when Pakistani circles would not waste ten seconds in pointing out the one bomber who was of Somalian origin just to prove the point that not “all four” bombers were from Pakistan. Pakistanis were upset so became defensive, and then became upset for being made to feel defensive. [...]




    1. shihab — on 16th November, 2005 at 3:33 am  

      It’s important to note that the kind that believe martyrdom leads to 72 virgins in heaven aren’t muslims, they’re mad (imagine how long the pillow talk would take…) They can’t be reasoned with. They want to send everyone back to the dark ages, but not they want to keep their kalashnikovs. Mad I tell you.

      And the muslim community are playing care in the community for these lunatics. When the 7/7 bombers struck, their families were like: he was such a good boy (sotto voice, let’s build him a shrine in pakistan), we never thought he could do such a thing. Bollocks. They knew. Everyone knows when there’s a madman amidst you. But our community, incidentally notorious for brushing the issue of madness under the carpet, pretend everything is hunky dory.

      You and I, Fareeha, can’t help, because we don’t know these mad people. But there are people out there who do. There should be a law against harbouring a nutter. First signs they show of getting the horn whenever a westener dies, shop ‘em.

      And on a tangent, Muslims who send their wayward kids to Pakistan are largely responsible for some of this mess. You’re 17, got a girlfriend, smoking pot, suddenly you find yourself packed off to another country where you attend a madrasa and get caned for mispronouncing a language you don’t understand.

      Enough to drive any kid insane.

    2. shihab — on 16th November, 2005 at 4:26 am  

      PS. the guy in the pic. is it me or does he look like he’s holding a spliff?

    3. Siddhartha — on 16th November, 2005 at 10:50 am  

      This is brave and honest post. Impassioned without being mawkish. Strident without being didactic. I find myself agreeing with every word of it. I don’t know the solution to this but I do know that the only way to stop this culture of displaced martydom from taking root in Islam UK is for Muslim women to come forward and play a more politically active role. I don’t know why I even think that, but it may be partly to do with the fact that almost all the voices that speak on behalf of Muslims tend to be men. And most often that not stupid, self-serving apologist men.

    4. Jai Singh — on 16th November, 2005 at 11:11 am  

      Excellent post — and very brave too.

      A couple of points:

      1. Mohammad Sidique Khan explicitly mentions the historical incidence of “Muslims conquering lands” and he is therefore making his treasonous and indeed imperialist views quite clear.

      2. His labelling the Queen as “one of Islam’s severest enemies” is quite ridiculous, considering that the Royal family has done very little to either encourage the persecution of Muslims in the UK or indeed to attack/debunk Islam (the opposite, considering Prince Charles’ open curiosity about the faith).

      3. There was recently a mass protest march in Morocco by thousands of Muslims against Al-Qaeda, along with an outright condemnation of OBL and Al-Qaeda’s ideology and actions as blasphemous and heretical by the most senior Moroccan Islamic clerics. If the British Muslim community really want to send a message — to both OBL and wannabe jihadists here in the UK — then a similar course of action would certainly be a constructive development. Even more so if similar protest marches and condemnations of the fundies by Muslims and Islamic clerics occurred simultaneously in every country where there is a large Muslim population (especially in the Middle East).

      4. This is a problem that really has to be solved by Muslims themselves — otherwise other people will attempt to solve the problem for you (already happening, in fact), the consequences of which could be terrible for absolutely everyone.

    5. Jai Singh — on 16th November, 2005 at 12:15 pm  

      This is a very good article from TIME magazine about the negative reaction to the female bomber in Jordan, explaining how things have backfired badly for Al-Qaeda:

      http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1130689,00.html?cnn=yes

    6. squared — on 16th November, 2005 at 12:22 pm  

      Excellent post.

    7. blue mountain — on 16th November, 2005 at 12:23 pm  

      Jai Singh writes:

      This is a problem that really has to be solved by Muslims themselves —

      Show me 3 instances from history where Muslim Moderates have defeated the Extremists. From the murder of Darah Shikoh by Aurangzeb, Extremists have invariably won. Akbar and Jehangir kept fanatics at bay but again they both had Hindu mothers.Hopefully the modern scientic age would be different.

      It was always the superior firepower of infidel armies that put paid to Muslim extremist attempts of expansion.

    8. Siddhartha — on 16th November, 2005 at 12:38 pm  

      Since you’re mentioning the Mughals, My personal favourite is Akbar who was a complete moderate (Sadiq Khan and and his gang self-exploders would probably call him a degenerate), replete with his own pseudo-esoteric syncretic religion called Din-i-Ilahi.
      Don’t forget the Persian dynasty of the Safavids. They liked a drink or two.
      The Mamluks were party people and made the Planet Rock (its a sure shot!).
      Timuris were the best architects and sponsors of the Arts in general.
      The list goes on…

      Of course, we’re talking abouit the elites here. There were always the dynamic tug of war between the reactionary ulama and the more spiritually liberal Sufis for the hearts and minds of the people.

    9. blue mountain — on 16th November, 2005 at 12:45 pm  

      Yes safavids

      The converted an entire nation from Sunni to Shia by swordpower. In retaliation the Ottomans slaughtered thousands of Shias.

    10. Siddhartha — on 16th November, 2005 at 12:52 pm  

      The US are killing thousands of Sunnis and Shias and yet we still masturbate fondly to the thought of the Almighty Dollar.

    11. blue mountain — on 16th November, 2005 at 12:52 pm  

      The Mamelukes may have been party people but when the Russians came to Mamelukes trying to forge a partnership Mameluks wanted them to convert to Islam. Russians agreed but they wanted a waiver. It was not possible to survive Russian winter without drinking. But Mamelukes insisted that Islam forbids drinking. So the Russians never became Muslims.

    12. blue mountain — on 16th November, 2005 at 1:01 pm  

      The US are not killing Shias. They are killing Sunnis who are resisting them. Sunnis are killing Shias as they always did.

      BTW…Why the US are not killing Sunni Kurds?

    13. Jai Singh — on 16th November, 2005 at 1:09 pm  

      =>”It was always the superior firepower of infidel armies that put paid to Muslim extremist attempts of expansion.”

      Self-defence and military containment are effective but only temporary solutions. This whole problem can only be addressed with a long-term view if there is sufficient condemnation by Islamic religious authorities (or at least Muslim religious figures of sufficient standing within the Ummah — unfortunately, there don’t seem to be too many Sufi saints like Baba Farid or Bulleh Shah around today) of the interpretations of Islam which promote such a worldview and the associated behaviour (whether we’re talking about Mughal-era atrocities, 9/11 or 7/7), along with a refusal by sufficient numbers of everyday Muslims to go along with that kind of interpretation.

      I agree with your examples from Mughal times but remember that, apart from the fact that such persecution of non-Muslims was being promoted “from the top” in the case of Aurangzeb (I guess a modern-day equivalent would be Iran — fortunately, OBL hasn’t yet achieved that kind of political power), Aurangzeb only really started changing his mind about his own behaviour and beliefs because Guru Gobind Singh’s “Zafarnama” letter really touched a nerve with him (and, unlike most of the leaders currently opposing OBL and his cohorts, the Guru was regarded as an indisputably saintly individual even by many on the Mughal side, so his view had both credibility and gravitas). Although, obviously, the Khalsa had been effective in military self-defence in the meantime until the Emperor “saw the light”.

      So the change really has to come internally.

    14. Sunny — on 16th November, 2005 at 1:15 pm  

      I don’t care about the past, I think when we are talking about denial, we’re talking about people like this Jamal.

    15. Fe'reeha — on 16th November, 2005 at 1:19 pm  

      Hmmm! Interesting how some of the messages posted here seem to imply that “drinking” (alcohol I presume) will be synonymous to being “moderate muslim”.
      I am not so sure about it.
      Read “Blasphemy” by Tehmina Khar and you will find quite a few examples of drinking extremists. Simmilarly most Saudi Arabs drink from dusk to dawn but I have serious doubts about labelling them as “moderates” with their harems of veiled wives, battalion of children (Muslim armies?) and ban on women drivers.
      In contrast I find a number of well-enlightened Muslim youth who don’t and won’t drink following a book they believe which clearly prohibits drinking, but still follow very clearly moderate Islamic life styles.
      Didn’t we hear September 11 bombers were seen drinking before the night they committed their horrible act?

    16. shihab — on 16th November, 2005 at 1:19 pm  

      At what point in history is it deemed okay to stop caring about the past? It’s what happens in the past that determines present action. Forget about it and you risk letting slip the mongrels who can’t, for instance, fathom why America is being picked on all of a sudden

      History brought us where we are today, he said chuffing pretentiously on his pipe

    17. Sunny — on 16th November, 2005 at 1:34 pm  

      Yeah but going back as far as the Mughals is just getting sily. That’s for people who can’t get over what happened 1000s of years ago.

      I also agree with Fe’reeha’s sentiments on drinking. That is in no way any indicator of how pious, chilled out or “moderate” a person is. In fact it is likely to make a person more mentally unstable.

    18. Fe'reeha — on 16th November, 2005 at 1:35 pm  

      I think what Sunny is saying is that we have to forget some parts of the past. Coming from South Asian region, at least we have to understand the value of “forgetting and forgiving and moving on”.
      Moreover, we just cannot label people and actions by judging them in the light of their past generations’ conducts.
      Different people live in different times. You cannot even compare Muslims of today to the Muslims of pre-partition days, or Moghal era. Don’t forget the Moghals were also rulers, and maybe rulers “before” they were Muslims.
      There are people out there who still mention sub-continent-partition’s bloody events on every other debate, more than that, they will still go to Mongolian times etc.

      While we should not forget history, we should also learn to live in the present and not try to find answers of all that is happening to us today, from the past fates of nations. I think this will be a totalitarian approach.

    19. Stephen — on 16th November, 2005 at 1:41 pm  

      On the matter of moderate Islam defeating extreme Islam. Can someone remind me about the origins of Sufism. I vaguely remember that this began as quite a violent sect but changed direction quite suddenly. Is that correct?

    20. Jai Singh — on 16th November, 2005 at 1:42 pm  

      To expand on what Shihab is saying, one needs to be aware of past events, not only to understand why there may be a certain political/sociological/religious situation in the present, but also because what is happening in the world today isn’t actually the first time this is occurring. There are precedents for all of this, even though some of the major players were different and the geographical locations may also have been elsewhere (although overlapping with today’s situation, to some extent).

      People talk about the necessity “reforms in Islam” and so on, yet the ironic thing is that all that has already happened several times in the past, at least with some of the major Sufi sects in the subcontinent. I believe the version of Islam practiced by the Moors in medieval Spain was also a lot more liberal than is generally known (despite OBL’s open wish to “reconquer Al-Andalus”).

      Anyway……

      I also agree 100% with Sunny’s comments about “denial”.

      If I may also expand on Fereeha’s original message regarding “madness”, I don’t think this is just a metaphor in this particular scenario; both in the videotaped message (and the previous one by those guys who blew themselves up in Israel last year), and in public statements by a number of fundies here (ranting mullahs and their supporters) and overseas (and indeed by a couple of recent commentors on the BBC Asian Network message board), there really is a visible degree of psychiatric illness. I mentioned this on the BBC board too but a lot of these people are showing the following symptoms:

      - Multiple neuroses, especially regarding Western culture and norms
      - Clinical paranoia
      - Psychotically delusional
      - Persecution comples
      - Sadism/lack of empathy/lack of remourse.

      These are all indicators of a psychopathic illness, to a lesser or greater degree.

      If these people aren’t prosecuted then at least they very obviously need to be referred by their GPs to a competent psychiatrist, along with possibly taken off the streets while they’re a danger to themselves and the rest of society. Maybe in the most extreme cases they need to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

    21. Jai Singh — on 16th November, 2005 at 1:47 pm  

      *Persecution comples

      Apologies — typo; that should have said “Persecution compleX”

    22. Siddhartha — on 16th November, 2005 at 1:52 pm  

      Blue Mountain: If the US have managed to create a weapon that kills Sunni Iraqis exclusively in a country where Sunni-Shia intermarriage is part and parcel of society (to the extent where siblings can belong to both or either sect), then you really must tell us about it.

      Sunny/Fe’reena: point about drinking taken on board. It was used as device to illustrate the moderate Islamic nature of the Safavid Dynasty. Take a look at the painting at the bottom of this page

    23. Sunny — on 16th November, 2005 at 1:59 pm  

      Jai, I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a psychiatric illness. A simple case of effective brainwashing. The Guardian Saturday edition had a fantastic piece on brainwashing a few months back, and it was so instructive.

      So good in fact that as soon as I find a good potential victim, I’m gonna try the techniques myself >:-)

      Being serious, I don’t think its that hard to brainwash people, that’s the problem. Killing others then just becomes a way to play out the rage that is built up inside you.

    24. blue mountain — on 16th November, 2005 at 2:10 pm  

      The demonic oppressive satanic explotative US invaded a country where all sects like Sunni Shia Kurds lived happily under competent secular and just ruler.

      Never blame anyone else for your troubles.You are the source of your troubles and only you can get yourself out of all troubles

      Ancient Hindu Proverb

    25. bananabrain — on 16th November, 2005 at 2:12 pm  

      i think this is a fantastic post. many of us in the jewish community have been astonished that things like this are not more widely said. “where are the moderate muslims?” we keep asking. where’s the gandhi? where’s the muslim equivalent of “peace now”? where’s the moral high ground? in our community there is a lot of debate about allowing our extremists to dictate the agenda (although, thank G!D, we haven’t seen any jewish suicide bombers and insh’Allah, we never will) and i think the argument is gradually being won - certainly the success of the gaza disengagement in the teeth of determined opposition by a minority ought to serve as an example.

      don’t underestimate the power of powerful gestures - the palestinian family who donated their son’s organs to israelis made major headlines and was mentioned in many sermons. humanisation can never be a bad thing. this is where unfortunately i feel that many muslims are going wrong in hitching their bandwagon to leftwing agendas like those of ken livingstone, george galloway and the socialist workers’ party - these guys are NOT your friends. they just see you as a useful stick to bash their enemies with - your real concerns, such as marginalisation and social exclusion, as well as principled integration, will attract nary a whit of their energy. your real allies ought to be those with similar concerns - when people attack the wearing of hijab in france, they attack us and the sikhs too. it is time for unity amongst faith communities, not allowing people to treat us as unsophisticated blocs to be told how to vote by the likes of “respect”.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    26. Siddhartha — on 16th November, 2005 at 2:15 pm  

      Blue Mountain: Lovely poverb, probably applies to self-improvement and contemplation, not war. Now, about that Sunni-seeking rocket launcher?

    27. blue mountain — on 16th November, 2005 at 2:22 pm  

      where Sunni-Shia intermarriage is part and parcel of society….

      Nonsense !! Exceptions can never prove to be the rule. Only recently Qaradwi cautiously endorsed Shia - Sunni intermarriage. Of course he is a solitary figure. In my city it is even haram for the Sunnis to step on a Shia mosque.

    28. Sunny — on 16th November, 2005 at 2:29 pm  

      hitching their bandwagon to leftwing agendas like those of ken livingstone, george galloway and the socialist workers’ party - these guys are NOT your friends.

      I agree about the SWP and Galloway bananabrain, but I think Ken is more honest than that. I haven’t seen any evidence that his support is anything than sincere.

    29. blue mountain — on 16th November, 2005 at 2:30 pm  

      Lovely poverb, probably applies to self-improvement and contemplation, not war

      Go back to History. Foreign invasion( and subsequent act of conquering) takes place only when there is internal turmoil, discontent ,widespread unrest,indifferent rulers and strife.

      A strong and united nation can take care of itself.

    30. Siddhartha — on 16th November, 2005 at 2:40 pm  

      Regurgitating Fox News bollocks is great if you’re in the Divide and Conquer game. Iraq cannot be neatly divided between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds (if it ever was). There has been much mixing and moving and intermarriage of populations over the decades. But don’t take my word for it. Here is a good source

    31. blue mountain — on 16th November, 2005 at 2:49 pm  

      But why dont your source mention anything about the ethnic cleansing of Kurds from Kirkuk to be replaced by Shia Arabs and Turkomans who happily moved in households left vacant by the fleeing Kurds?Why is silent on the ban on shiite festivals ? No word about the murder of Shia religious figures by Saddam. Why did Saddam and his loyal Sunnis invaded Khorasan province of Iran and called it “Arabistan”? why did Saddam and Sunnis staged Gas attacks on Kurds?Why did Saddam killed fellow Sunnis by invading Kuwait ?

    32. Sunny — on 16th November, 2005 at 2:53 pm  

      Foreign invasion( and subsequent act of conquering) takes place only when there is internal turmoil, discontent ,widespread unrest,indifferent rulers and strife.
      A strong and united nation can take care of itself.

      So I assume that also applies to the Romans, British, the French, Dutch, Portugese, Mongolians etc etc etc?

    33. Siddhartha — on 16th November, 2005 at 2:53 pm  

      Blue Mountain, re-re-wind.
      Our argument is not on Saddam’s abuses of the Shia populace.
      Its on whether the US can bomb an Iraqi nighbourhood in the blissful knowledge that they will be killing Sunnis only.
      How do they manage that. I’m sure you was going to tell us.

    34. blue mountain — on 16th November, 2005 at 2:53 pm  

      Iraq cannot be neatly divided between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds ….

      During the Ottoman rule “Iraq” was neatly divided between Shia dominated Mosul, Sunni Baghdad and Kurdish Areas.

    35. shihab — on 16th November, 2005 at 3:00 pm  

      rusty political knowledge alert. kindly educate: the US are siding with shi’ites, right? but don’t they hate the iranians more, who are predominantly shi’ites aren’t they? Is there method here?

    36. Fe'reeha — on 16th November, 2005 at 3:03 pm  

      I don’t know much about the Iraq shia and sunni divide.
      But at least in Pakistan, and even in Pakistani community in Britain, the divide is still there.
      One of my aunts fell in love with a shia guy (being sunni herself) and I remember the unprecedented commotion this mere mortal act had caused within the usually very liberal and moderate family members. (These are my very early childhood memories).
      I also remember one elder actually asking the Imam of the ka’aba of that time if intermarriage of shia and sunni was allowed? The answer was hell, no!

      According to the Imam, some shia sects call names to the friends of the Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h) and hence should not dare be allowed in the family. According to the enlightened Imam it was impossible to tell which sect was which.
      So on this mere supposition and avoiding the Hurculian task to investigate the exact “sect” the family gave the unanimously negative verdict against the proposed shia sunni marriage.
      This is the 80’s I am talking about it. Even today, shia sunni marriage, though much more common is sill frowned upon and yes, even the mosques of the two sects are different.

      Coming back to Iraq, the fact remains that shias indeed were suppressed during the time of Saddam Hussian. And it is indeed with the help of those suppressed shias, along with the help of shia Iran that US forces are being able to stand on relatively firmer grounds (in particular Basra).
      The divide is there. Now we can blame the US, Saddam or the entire universe for creating it….but we cannot deny the fact that there is indeed a divide!!!

    37. blue mountain — on 16th November, 2005 at 3:03 pm  

      Sunny you left the Greeks and the Persians

    38. Fe'reeha — on 16th November, 2005 at 3:07 pm  

      And yes bananbrain, interesting post. But I will have to agree with Sunny.
      Ken Livingstone cannot be bracketed with SWP and Galloway.
      He is too genuine a person to do this to him.

    39. Siddhartha — on 16th November, 2005 at 3:23 pm  

      Fereena
      Of course the divisions were there. We are seeing the effects of Churchillian/Mountbatton/Jinnah felt-tip pen border creation to this day in the Indian sub continent. And we are seeing the same shit being played out in Iraq today.
      It would be foolhardy to think that the creation of 3 client states based on spurious racial and religious boundaries in Iraq will result in happy Iraqi neighbours again.

    40. Jai Singh — on 16th November, 2005 at 3:33 pm  

      With all due respect to everyone, I think we’re going slightly off-topic here……

      An interesting observation is that the US also has a sizeable Muslim population — estimated at between 1.3 million to 3 million (with hundreds of thousand sof Arabs living in Detroit alone — it’s the biggest Arab community in the States) — yet the US does not have this level of virulently anti-American/anti-Western sentiment amongst the vast majority of Muslims living there.

      One reason may be that, unlike the UK, there is a much higher percentage of both 1st and 2nd Generation South Asians there who are highly-educated, highly-qualified professionals — and growing up in that kind of household is obviously going to affect one’s worldview. (Yes I know that there are exceptions to this in the UK too, eg. one of the 7/7 bombers in particular was from an affluent family). I believe the American Arab community is also very successful.

      Secondly, maybe a related factor is exactly what kind of societal and educational background Muslims in the UK come from, with regards to exactly where they are from in Pakistan etc. Maybe there’s a difference here when compared to their counterparts over in the US.

      Something does seem to have gone very wrong here, anyway. The kind of things that have been happening here in the UK are the (theoretical) equivalent of the US versions of Al-Muhajiroun, HuT etc openly holding rallies in Times Square and calling for “the black flag of Islam over the White House”, “the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to be replaced with Shariah”, and so on, along with openly making such statements on FOX, NBC, CNN etc — none of which has happened.

    41. Jai Singh — on 16th November, 2005 at 3:35 pm  

      *there is a much higher percentage of both 1st and 2nd Generation South Asians there

      Including people of Pakistani origin, of course.

    42. blue mountain — on 16th November, 2005 at 3:38 pm  

      We are seeing the effects of Churchillian/Mountbatton/Jinnah felt-tip pen border creation to this day in the Indian sub continent.

      This is a common nonsense fed to all students of India.The Hindus-Musalmans-Sikhs were angelic people hell bent on living a brotherly peaceful tolerant and exempery life which would show the entire world the way to live in a multicultural harmonious progressive tolerant society and here comes the satanic British ….they divided brothery Hindus and Musalman for their own benefit..they created all sorts of rift…when they were forced to leave due to valiant struggle for freedom (never mind WW II and economic bankruptcy) led by our great leaders,they saved their last deed of mischief ..the partition of the country.

    43. Siddhartha — on 16th November, 2005 at 3:49 pm  

      BM: I suppose you are a firm advocator of divison of inter and intra national boundaries at the drop of a sectarian hat?

    44. blue mountain — on 16th November, 2005 at 3:54 pm  

      Vasudaiva Kutumbkakum

    45. Siddhartha — on 16th November, 2005 at 3:59 pm  

      That’s easy for you to say.

    46. Jai Singh — on 16th November, 2005 at 4:11 pm  

      If an employee was disgruntled enough with the policies of his company that he actually wanted to start killing his colleagues (and seriously began considering doing so), regardless of the various victim’s direct responsibility/innocence of the perceived “crimes”, one would regard such a person as both mentally unstable (to the level of actually being psychopathic) and potentially extremely dangerous.

      The same analogy applies to the 7/7 bombers, actual and potential. And people who support that kind of mentality.

    47. Bikhair — on 16th November, 2005 at 4:18 pm  

      Shihab,

      “PS. the guy in the pic. is it me or does he look like he’s holding a spliff?”

      LOL, Shihab its so you. Its always you.

    48. Bikhair — on 16th November, 2005 at 4:25 pm  

      Banana,

      “i think this is a fantastic post. many of us in the jewish community have been astonished that things like this are not more widely said. “where are the moderate muslims?” we keep asking. where’s the gandhi? where’s the muslim equivalent of “peace now”?”

      Without jumping to conclusions, why does it seem like everyone else has to have a ghandi except for Westerners, white Westerners. Muslims have peace, we have treaties, we have jihad, we have many things. Above all we have the Prophet’s way to help us, which isnt about turning Darul Harb into Darul Islam. What a strange idea considering the facts.

      I love Bananas!

    49. mk — on 16th November, 2005 at 4:26 pm  

      I too wonder what will jolt the Muslims out of their denial, because since 7/7 the only thing people have really focused on and cared about is how stupid the bombers were. What the bombers did was terrible and the targeted killing of innocent bystanders is never allowed in Islam and tackling the issue is important but we must understand what caused the issue and not go on a relentless tirade against the individuals.
      These people took their own lives to kill women and children because they felt angry at what the “west” was doing to the Middle-East. And it’s true the west have done some horrors, even encouraged Sadam Hussein to go to war with Iran, put crippling IMF policies on Pakistan causing starvation, supporting Islam Karimov etc. Obviously these are going to cause individuals to do drastic things, even if it’s all the way here in Britain. And you’ll never have every Muslim be against terrorism forever while these atrocities are carrying on. Hence this is the source of the problem, every conflict will produce dangerous individuals and there is no point in complaining about Islam being misrepresented or what idiot terrorists are unless you’re prepared to do something about it.
      This is what shocks me; the horrors are so great that it almost makes the 7/7 a non-issues, yet this is all that Muslims in the west seem to care about, how the incident has made life difficult for them, not about how Islam is being portrayed as they claim. I wish the Muslims will jolt out of their denial, in that this life is all that they have and the western way is the best way and really understand that the best thing they have is Islam. They are already losing it thinking that it is okay to drink in Islam; in fact you’re an extremist if you don’t drink. Allah (swt) said he perfected our deen for us, why are we choosing to live any other way when we should be looking to the deen.

    50. Chris — on 16th November, 2005 at 4:55 pm  

      mk - fantastic stuff - 7/7 a non-issue - any views on 9/11 while you’re about it?

    51. Chris — on 16th November, 2005 at 5:10 pm  

      Sunny
      re “honest” Ken Livingstone - other than promising not to scrap the routemaster and then doing so - what about his disgusting sucking up to Al-Qaradawi ?

    52. Chris — on 16th November, 2005 at 5:11 pm  

      or his sucking up to the disgusting Al-Q, whichever way you want to read it…

    53. Rohin — on 16th November, 2005 at 5:22 pm  

      Great stuff again Fereeha. I was actually talking about you yesterday to a Muslim girl from King’s College. I was saying that your viewpoint, which is neither one that is apologist and defensive, nor one that sacrifices all ties to Islam and dissociates itself from other Muslims, is a viewpoint I need to see more of. I wish your opinion was more widespread and EXPOSED amongst the Muslim community. There are lots of ‘floating voters’, so to speak, amongst regular Muslims who need to hear this sort of thing instead of The Daily Mail on one side and the MCB on the other.

      Any thoughts about how people like you and others on this site can get more exposure? I can count the number of British Muslim commentators in print and on TV that I agree with wholeheartedly on one hand. Where’s our Fareed Zakaria? Although even he’s not THAT high profile stateside.

    54. Jai Singh — on 16th November, 2005 at 6:12 pm  

      Isn’t the Government trying to set up a centralised British Muslim website, so that such people can actually discuss these issues on a central forum ?

      That would at least give the “floating voters” an avenue to get their voices heard.

    55. Uncleji — on 16th November, 2005 at 6:33 pm  

      I would regard myself as a Islamphile too an extent of attempting to learn Arabic at the Muslim College and constantly sticking up for Islam in impassed Arguments with my backward relatives but even I have say that this post-imperial and fawling victimhood is starting to piss me off.
      Take this exchange from Frank Gardner and a group of SOAS students in how “Analysis: How Islam got Political”
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/spl/hi/programmes/analysis/transcripts/10_11_05.txt

      GARDNER:
      But to be fair, most of the carnage in Iraq on a
      day to day basis is being inflicted by people who call themselves Muslims, who
      are setting off suicide bombs killing other Muslims.

      ROSANA:
      Yes unfortunately that’s true, but the intentions
      behind their slaughter is not to kill each other. It’s to make a point and it’s to get
      rid of the troops that are there at the moment.

      GARDNER:
      Nahed, you wanted to say something.

      NAHED:
      Yeah, I was just going to point out a couple of
      things like in terms of media manipulation sometimes. Like whenever a killing
      takes place in Iraq, they say you know Sunni against Shia, Shia against Sunni;
      whereas most Muslims, we just consider ourselves Muslims and so it’s this kind of
      playing the group off each other and you know just dividing. And I see it in the
      media a lot, you know. Rather than just saying that you know Iraqis are killing
      Iraqis, you know this division is made.

      GARDNER:
      To be fair though, Abu Musab al-Zarkawi, who
      is the most wanted insurgent in Iraq, he has made a public declaration of war
      against most Shi’ite groups in Iraq.

    56. Uncleji — on 16th November, 2005 at 6:38 pm  

      On the other hand…..
      The programme makes a very good case that the mess that the West made of the Bosnian War aided the radicalisation of Muslim youth.
      The west won’t protect blonde, blue eyed and disco dancing European muslims. What chance do us of a darker hue have ?
      Ironic considering that the Serbs claimed to be fighting against Islamic Menace, they ended up creating it.
      Raise a glass of raki to our f**ed up Balkan friends

    57. Fe'reeha — on 16th November, 2005 at 7:43 pm  

      Rohin! Thanks! I am flattered.

      Re: One reason may be that, unlike the UK, there is a much higher percentage of both 1st and 2nd Generation South Asians there who are highly-educated, highly-qualified professionals

      Jai, I whole-heartedly agree with you in this regard. And you can include Canada and Australia in this list as well. The immigration to these countries is checked through point system which allows educated and enlightened people, who have more capacity to fit in and integrate, to come to these countries.
      Unfortunately, British immigration and asylum system has so many loopholes in it, that it is helping a very remote community to seep into and settle down in an unplanned way.
      Yet, one cannot just shift all the blame on the immigration system alone as the same system has brought the Indian community in this country, who have done much better than their Pakistani counterparts. But that’s a whole new domain of a debate on integration and let’s not go there.

    58. Sunny — on 17th November, 2005 at 12:05 am  

      It’s not as bad as people think it is, but there is a particular victim mentality that many Muslims in the UK have adopted (though the Sikhs and Hindus also quickly adopt this when necessary).

      I was listening to Tariq Ramadan tonight (again I must add - have run into the guy thrice in three weeks), and he made exactly the same point as Fe-reeha - that Muslims need to break out of this victim mentality and take responsibility for the actions of these people and deal with it. Not for anyone else’s benefit but for the well being of their own society. That guy makes so much sense…. I could almost hear Inayat Bunglawala squirming behind me :D

    59. Mokum — on 17th November, 2005 at 12:32 am  

      Lol. Squirming is the new interfaith religion. Tariq is a very good “conservative subversive” artist for the cause :-)

    60. Sunny — on 17th November, 2005 at 12:53 am  

      Nah, I find that description troubling. The attack levelled at him is that he says different things to Muslims and different things to non-Muslims, but hearing him speak to a mostly Asian audience before, and now totally Muslim audience, I can vouch for the clarity of his thought and how much his voice is needed within the current debate. IB was squirming because TR was blaming Muslim organisations and leaders for the stagnation and not having a proper debate about 7/7.

    61. Shaggydabbydo — on 17th November, 2005 at 1:04 am  

      Hi Sunny,

      What a fine blog you have here, introductions are required :-)

      Regs, Shaggy

    62. Sunny — on 17th November, 2005 at 1:22 am  

      Heh, how you doing Shaggy? Welcome ;)

    63. Mokum — on 17th November, 2005 at 1:24 am  

      Exactly, Sunny. And Tariq’s doing it from a traditional viewpoint, with some new bells and whistles. I don’t buy the “different messages by language ” argument, which I haven’t made. I like him, even if I disagree with him on, oh, whatever.

      I hope you and I are reaching similar conclusions from opposite starting points.

    64. Shaggydabbydo — on 17th November, 2005 at 1:27 am  

      Fine, Going to catch up on your blog. Later :-)

    65. Sunny — on 17th November, 2005 at 1:32 am  

      I hope you and I are reaching similar conclusions from opposite starting points.

      Lol, I think we usually do, don’t we? ;)
      I haven’t found a point to disagree with him on yet, but maybe I will. I don’t normally agree with everyone, specially not religious people, but he makes sense in what he says. In that he’s like Rowan Williams IMO.

    66. Mokum — on 17th November, 2005 at 1:37 am  

      He is a sort of Rowan Williams for Islam. So many troublesome priests, so little time. Take care, Sunny.

    67. Inquisitor — on 17th November, 2005 at 5:44 am  

      Islam is the language via which disaffection is articulated and not the cause of disaffection - unless we view the globalist paradigm of Islam as ‘the cause’ since it conflicts with the nationalist/capitalist paradigm of the westernised/colonised mind.

    68. Inquisitor — on 17th November, 2005 at 5:51 am  

      What will jolt us nationalists out of denial? - with regards to our conceptual and causative complicity in these events.

      hmmm…

      http://the-heretic.blogspot.com
      has some relevant discussions with regards to this issue.

    69. bananabrain — on 17th November, 2005 at 11:10 am  

      I agree about the SWP and Galloway bananabrain, but I think Ken is more honest than that. I haven’t seen any evidence that his support is anything than sincere.
      no, you probably haven’t. actually, my point isn’t that livingstone is insincere and, in a lot of ways, i think he is very honest - i don’t think that he’s personally corrupt (unlike galloway) for example, but his sincerity is reserved for things he is automatically supportive of, like those bolsheviks in the tube and rail unions. there are other things that he is viscerally against because of his political background on the extreme left, such as privatisation, the USA and zionism. in all these things, i believe, he is extremely sincere. that is partly what worries me; it is out of all proportion to the shortcomings of all. where i think he is extremely disingenuous is in his political cynicism. obviously there’s no law against that and he isn’t the only politician to indulge in it, but before he takes a stand he considers the electoral calculus.

      in london, there are maybe 100,000 jews who vote not according to their ethnic background, but more or less individually. there are ten times as many muslims and just as many young, idealistic left-wing anti-war types (as if those of us who don’t go on marches are somehow “pro-war”!) every time he decides he’s going to do something that ticks off the jewish community, like inviting al-qaradawi or insulting that reporter, he’s getting points from the people who like to see him ‘stick one to the jews’. there’s a pattern where he does something that results in complaints from our community and then he refuses to apologise, or blames it on “hysteria” or “zionist propaganda” or something equally daft, which improves his support. all he’s doing is indulging his natural populism. this isn’t about his sympathy with islam, or with muslims. muslims happen to be perceived as an underdog at the moment and consequently it is logical for him as a left-winger to seek them as a constituency. the fact that doing so is incompatible with his stated interest in, for example, combating homophobia, as the protests against al-qaradawi ought to show, doesn’t appear to bother him. when the new class of muslim entrepreneurs and second-generation middle-class families start voting tory, then you’ll see a change.

      why does it seem like everyone else has to have a ghandi except for Westerners
      the whole point of gandhi was that he was into non-aggression, non-retaliation and being anti-war. demonstrations rather than insurgency. i don’t believe we’re short of such people in the west, even in the political class. i think we all have to learn from this; i’m not actually exempting anyone - it’s just that muslims can come across as kind of belligerent as opposed to, say, buddhists. and, thank you, bikhair, i love bananas too.

      The west won’t protect blonde, blue eyed and disco dancing European muslims
      really? i have an idea that nato went into kosovo to do exactly that (albeit possibly without the disco-dancing.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    70. blue mountain — on 17th November, 2005 at 12:06 pm  

      Post no. 20…….Stephen

      On the matter of moderate Islam defeating extreme Islam. Can someone remind me about the origins of Sufism. I vaguely remember that this began as quite a violent sect but changed direction quite suddenly. Is that correct?

      Take a look at this link buddy. This will clear all your doubts.
      http://www.allaahuakbar.net/sufism/

      Check the the long list of enemies on the right. They include the jihadis and Hizb-ut-tahreer !!

    71. Siddhartha — on 17th November, 2005 at 12:08 pm  

      it’s just that muslims can come across as kind of belligerent as opposed to, say, buddhists

      I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. That statement is nothing other than the use of my co-religionsist’s history to damn Islam.

      Lol Nol’s Cambodian Army?
      Solomon Bandaranaike, first elected leader of independent Sri Lanka assassinated by a Buddhist militant?
      Tell that sentence to a Sri Lankan Tamil and you may be in danger of getting spittle in the eye.

    72. Siddhartha — on 17th November, 2005 at 12:20 pm  

      BlueMountain: Posting a link to a Wahabbi website displays your complete ignorance, or, at the very least, half-baked knowledge.

      Sufism or Tassawwuf is the spiritual aspect of Islam and is as old as the religion iteself. To equate it with the malformed neoCon ideas of HuT, as this site has done, does not mean they are the same thing. Bear in mind that the HuT regard the Sufis as the enemy as well!

    73. Jai Singh — on 17th November, 2005 at 12:27 pm  

      Re: Post number 20

      Stephen, here is a link detailing some similarities and differences between Sikhism and Sufism:

      http://www.sikhs.org/relig_su.htm

      The writings of a number of Sufi saints are included within Sikh scriptures; also, some notable Sufis like Bulleh Shah (his poems are very famous in northern Indian and Pakistan) joined the last human Sikh Guru’s army in the struggles against the fanatical OBL-type Emperor 300 years ago (just to give you a better idea of the history of this sect and some of its adherents).

    74. blue mountain — on 17th November, 2005 at 12:33 pm  

      Siddharta

      You are humourless dry person.

    75. Jai Singh — on 17th November, 2005 at 12:38 pm  

      Siddharth,

      I think that Blue Mountain was indicating which hardline Islamist groups disagree with Sufism, as indicated in his/her last sentence.

      Historically, many orthdox Islamic groups and religious authorities have regarded Sufism as being heretics. One of the reasons why many Sufis ended up in the Indian subcontinent was because they were persecuted in certain parts of the Middle East.

      Some of their beliefs are in direct contradiction of orthodox Islam, whether we’re talking historically (eg. the example in my previous paragraph, along with Aurangzeb and his supporters amongst the Islamic clergy at the time), or more recently, eg. Wahabbism, the Taliban, etc.

    76. Siddharth — on 17th November, 2005 at 12:44 pm  

      BL: Well make yourself clear man!
      ok: apologies for shooting first, sniffing later…

    77. bananabrain — on 17th November, 2005 at 2:36 pm  

      That statement is nothing other than the use of my co-religionists’ history to damn Islam.
      ah, no it isn’t - well, it’s certainly not my intention. i’m not damning islam at all. i’m saying that to say that muslims are as attached to non-violence as buddhists (who i only chose, by the way, as an example of people who are committed to non-violence) would be kind of a misrepresentation. i could say the same thing about sikhs, or jews, or the irish for that matter - not exactly what you’d call shrinking violets when it comes to standing up for themselves (though with us, ’twas sadly not always thus) of course all generalisations are misleading and, of course, there are some buddhists who don’t exactly behave in a buddhist kind of way, (i am, incidentally, well aware of the sri lankan and cambodian situations, as it happens) just as the same is true of muslims, jews, christians and everyone else.

      i do have to say, though, without meaning to cause offence, that actions - historical or contemporary - speak louder than words. simply saying “these guys don’t represent us” is not enough. if you want islam to be associated with non-violence, you’re going to have to make the effort to rein in the people who think that putting the boot (and the axe/ball-bearing/bullet) into the kuffar is the answer. saying “they’re not real muslims” is just evading the issue and comes across as weaselly. plenty of people (muslims and others) think they *are* “real muslims” and they themselves certainly believe they are doing something islamic. we’ve all - not just muslims - got to take back our religions from the extremists. actively, not by whinging about it. when someone in my own community says to me, “well, those muslims, they just all want to kill us”, i can say right back to them “that’s absolutely wrong” - and be able to speak from personal experience from my own muslim friends, because i *know better*; i’m not just relying on self-serving victim-speak.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

      btw: i hope i’m not coming across as too strident - i actually work quite a lot in interfaith dialogue, but it seems that people are able to be a bit more forthright on this site. i certainly welcome anyone who wants to visit http://www.comparative-religion.com, where i moderate on the judaism board.

    78. blue mountain — on 17th November, 2005 at 2:47 pm  

      There got to be a strict law against praying. I firmly believe that If we could replace praying with meditation the world would be a much better place to live in

    79. Sunny — on 17th November, 2005 at 3:00 pm  

      I don’t know why he keeps supporting Qaradawi to be honest, and my feeling is that he was demonised the first time unfairly by a hysterical media who didn’t know much about Qaradawi (the media is trying it now with Ramadan), and they painted Ken into a corner.

      He did not want to be dictated to by the media so he keeps defending Qaradawi against the more aburd claims, though I agree he is not exactly a savoury character.

      The issue with the Jewish Deputies making a big fuss over the Standard Reporter was though truly rubbish. The Deputies are like the MCB in the sense they get so easily annoyed, when they could not see it was a simple analogy. I cannot see a man like Ken being an anti-semite and to paint him as that is pure stupidity. It was just the Mail and Standard grinding their own axes and they lost in the face of public opinion. So the only real issue here is that of Qaradawi I’d say.

    80. Chris — on 17th November, 2005 at 3:10 pm  

      “Only real issue…”
      Pretty big issue I would suggest!

    81. Siddharth — on 17th November, 2005 at 5:23 pm  

      The Media’s opinion of Tariq Ramadan is schizophrenic to say the least.
      Here is a great article on the Sun’s ramshackle handling of the Tariq Ramadan story from this summer.
      Harry’s Place commenterati seem to be suspicious of him. But then they would, wouldn’t they.

    82. Sunny — on 17th November, 2005 at 6:16 pm  

      That is assuming Qaradawi actually has much sway. The vast majority of young British Muslims are dying out for an imam or a scholar who speaks their language and knows about what is going on in Britain.

      I’d like to see evidence that people here actually care, other than those who want to villify him, and those who want to defend him.

    83. j0nz — on 18th November, 2005 at 1:53 am  

      http://memritv.org/default.asp#

    84. El Cid — on 18th November, 2005 at 9:18 pm  

      Great discussion as usual.
      I find myself wanting to learn more about the history of Islam (although, as my name suggests, I already know a bit about al-Andalus — home of of the best cured ham in the world!! How things have changed since Spain was liberated from the yoke of Moorish imperialism. I’m biased. What do you expect.)
      A couple of things occur to me:
      1) How comes no one draws any parallels with the religious history of Europe - the bloody battles between Protestantism and Catholicism, the toing and froing between reformers and reactionaries, the Gunpowder Plot and English Civil War, the Inquisition, the fanatical imposition of a religion on the non-Christian peoples in South America, Calvinism and the Industrial Revolution, and so on and so on. I mean moderation and toleration eventually won through here (give or take a couple of World Wars). Why should it be any different for Moslems and in the Moslem world? I don’t expect there’s a quick and simple answer.
      2) As for our Ken. He sometimes irritates me, don’t get me wrong, but as far as Quradawi is concerned I think it was a case of Ken trying to build bridges with angry/radical Moslems (as he did with Gerry Adams). He was trying to improve the level of dialogue, because all we ever saw on TV was Bakri/Hamza. I think it was a legitimate case of the ends justifying the means. So no, I don’t think he is as sincere as people might think.

    85. Sunny — on 19th November, 2005 at 2:28 am  

      How comes no one draws any parallels with the religious history of Europe - the bloody battles between Protestantism and Catholicism, the toing and froing between reformers and reactionaries,

      I would, but I don’t really believing in constantly dredging up history to play tit-for-tat games. Though its important to know that for a more broad perspective. The only ones who need such history lessons are those who think western enlightenment is phenomena that has been around for centuries.

    86. saghir hussain — on 20th November, 2005 at 11:01 pm  

      so what does thsi fereeha want muslim community in britain to do??
      it has become a fashion for people to talk about muslim community affairs. wel, no community can take the blame for the actiosn of individuals. those who want british muslims to take blame as a whole are sucking up, may be after passposrts and parking permits???? huh/

    87. bananabrain — on 22nd November, 2005 at 2:44 pm  

      He was trying to improve the level of dialogue
      look, that’s one thing, but from my PoV, a cleric who finds it acceptable to kill israelis (to say nothing of homosexuals) is not much of an improvement even on bakri muhammad and abu hamza. his stance on these issues is quite simply incompatible with the word “moderation”, regardless of his influence or otherwise. all that was being said was, “mr mayor, please find someone else”. but no, that’s “hysteria”. and that’s not the board talking, that is the opinion of a moderate.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    88. sonia — on 22nd November, 2005 at 3:03 pm  

      i agree with saghir. normally people don’t hold the ‘country’ to account for the actions of criminals within that country. the jails are full - a community cannot and should not seek to police its members. its one thing to provide an open forum where people can feel accepted and empowered and feel they are listened to, that we should all be aiming to achieve anyway.

    89. Fe'reeha — on 22nd November, 2005 at 3:25 pm  

      Sonia and Saghir, I am not saying that the whole community should feel guilty over what the four miserable bombers of 7/7 did, but at least there should be some level of awareness.

      I do get to hear examples of people committing crimes in other communities, but the difference is that the likes of Ian Huntely etc did not commit crimes in the name of their religions.
      Here, the situation is a bit different.
      We have a group of people, who repeatedly quote (mis-quote?) Quran and go around killing innocent people, and even try to justify it.
      Also, these are not just one-off cases, it’s happening with an alarming frequency.
      In this scenario, definitely some responsibility does fall on the whole community’s shoulder to stop them, not because we are guilty of “their crimes” but because they are “using our religion for their own benefits.

    90. sonia — on 22nd November, 2005 at 3:27 pm  

      ha thats a good one. i thought it looked like a splif too!

      interesting point way above about parents sending their kids off to pakistan/( replace with any country in the indian sub-continent) and then later getting a nasty shock. its a very silly thing for parents to do- because one of the problems i can see ( and this is generally the case for most diasporic cultures all over the world) is that these parents are harking back to some ( probably imagined in the first place) golden era of their youth or sth and they imagine everything ‘back home’ is still the same. Oh so safe and innocent. ‘Pure’.

      Wake up and smell the coffee.

      i know my parents used to think the same thing. i lived ‘abroad’ since i was a baby and when i was a little terror they used to say to me if i was naughty ‘we’ll send you off to bangladesh!’ and then later, after i’d spent 2 teenage years living in dhaka and running wild ( given the chaos and crazy nature of the of that country ( and generally the sub-continent)- not surprising) by the time we’d left it again the poor things gave a sigh of relief and you know what - i never heard them utter that threat again! ha.

      as someone wise once pointed out coventry is much less of a trouble spot than karachi.

      -
      oh and in the comment above - i meant over and above the laws that already exist ( e.g. killing etcl) i guess i the meant social policing type thing.

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