“So how do you feel as a British Muslim”


by Ahmad
24th December, 2005 at 10:39 pm    

With the glare firmly on Muslims, media organisations constantly ask the above question. I’m tempted to say – “I feel with my hands thanks!”. What next? “How do you Muslims eat, drink and breathe?”

And the classic line: “Are you British first or Muslim?”

Not only are the questions leading and have a slant, they are as pathetic as asking a 5 year old if they love Daddy or Chips!

It is more pathetic that some British Muslims keep falling for this 5 minutes of fame hook, line and sinker.

Many would argue that this is offering a positive slant on British Muslims if we talk about our plight after the London bombings. Wrong! We are instead becoming a culture of victims which can lead to some taking advantage and playing ‘the Muslim Card’. As a global community we should be better than that.

The September 11th attacks created unrest within America and the UK to the point where the Muslim community was marginalised and attacked due to the actions of a few in New York.

As a response Muslim youth have become more militant to this modern day McCarthyism. The London bombings offered the media a chance for a new approach, which was a lot more sensitive. Some clearly did not want to make the same mistake twice.

However, many in the liberal media are still focusing on the ‘plight of British Muslims’ six months later. This is a problem in itself.

This over-sensitivity towards is creating more barriers. People from non-Muslim backgrounds can easily assume that there is some preferential treatment from the media – fuelling the fire. The over-sensitivity can also lead to extremist crack pots saying what they feel like and claim to talk on behalf of the whole community. Once again more fuel in the fire.

It will only be a matter of time when the wider British community will have enough of this over sensitive coverage and real cases of backlash against some Muslims will be ignored as a ‘boy who cried wolf’ issue.

Well need to move on and focus more on building bridges to ensure that these terrorist attacks do not happen again. The period of reflection is over.


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  1. raz — on 25th December, 2005 at 9:13 am  

    I agree. Best way for a Muslim to deal with current situation is to keep head down, mouth shut and work hard at contributing and being a worthwhile member of society. Actions will speak louder than words.

  2. Sajn — on 25th December, 2005 at 5:38 pm  

    “keep your head down, mouth shut” implies we should put up with whatever rubbish others throw our way.

    We need to speak up whenever and wherever it is necessary. Not just when non-Muslims attack or misrepresent us but also when other Muslims express views that are not consistent with our beliefs.

  3. Mount Lebanon — on 25th December, 2005 at 6:31 pm  

    Sajn

    “We need to speak up whenever and wherever it is necessary. Not just when non-Muslims attack or misrepresent us but also when other Muslims express views that are not consistent with our beliefs.”

    We can expect more Theo Van Goe’s then?

  4. Bikhair — on 25th December, 2005 at 7:48 pm  

    Heretical Saracen,

    “We can expect more Theo Van Goe’s then?”

    Why should you? According to the Sharia, its the leader of the Muslims who are given the responsibility and the authority to meet out punishments according to the Sharia? And it is him who will be held accountable. That responsibility hasnt fell into the hands of every Muslim you see out on the streets. But yet again Heretical Saracen, you are speaking about Muslims and not Islam.

    Ha Ha.

    BTW in the event Muslims should find it difficult to leave in Darul Kufr, or they dont find it difficult to live in Darul Kufr it should be made clear that is is obligatory on the Muslims to migrate to Muslim countries.

    Now if any Muslim loves the Sharia so much that he is willing to get himself thrown in a kufar jail cell because he believed he was acting according to it, why he still found himself living amongst them is beyond me.

    One of the many hypocracies of the takfiris and the jihadis.

    Mount Lebanon, shoudlnt you be dancing naked around your christmas tree right about now? Ha Ha, I kid.

  5. douglas — on 26th December, 2005 at 3:41 am  

    Ahmad,

    I think it is an opportunity for Muslims. There is no doubt that you are in the spotlight. The question is, whist the spotlight is on you, what are you going to do with it?

    Are you going to go into remmission, in the sense that you all turn the wagons into a circle and shoot at anyone outside, or are you actually going to subscribe to a generally held view that you are citizens of country UK, and that the law is there to protect you?

    Consequently, if you hear of something terrible that a Muslim might do, or a Scot, or an Irishman, ot heaven forfend an Englishman, would you not feel obliged to report it to the boys in blue? To be frank, I’m not sure where I stand on this issue, but Muslims seem to be required to be, apologies, whiter that white.

  6. Sunny — on 26th December, 2005 at 7:07 am  

    BTW in the event Muslims should find it difficult to leave in Darul Kufr, or they dont find it difficult to live in Darul Kufr it should be made clear that is is obligatory on the Muslims to migrate to Muslim countries.
    The sooner you migrate to Saudi Arabia Bikhair, the sooner your eyes will open to the bakwaas you constantly spout.

  7. El Cid — on 26th December, 2005 at 9:34 am  

    Best way for a Muslim to deal with current situation is to keep head down, mouth shut and work hard at contributing and being a worthwhile member of society

    No way. Like all other races, you do this anyway. Speak up, make yourselves known, interact, participate, share jokes, talk about stuff that affect us all and not just moslems, lambast the media for raising the profile of unrepresentative religious crackpots and moslem organisations, speak out against well-meaning but counterproductive namby-pambyisms such as nativity-play syndrome, chill out, read a copy of the Satanic Verses on the tube, raise a champagne toast to Mohammed, support the England football team but reserve the right to follow Pakistan/India/Bangladesh in cricket, get involved, fraternise with your neighbours. In short, more Pickled Politics please.

  8. El Cid — on 26th December, 2005 at 9:37 am  

    P.S. Does anyone see themself as British Pakistani, British Punjabi, British Bengali, British Tamil, British Indian, etc, anymore? Coz I don’t see myself as British Catholic and most other races in London don’t define themselves by their religion either. Is this due to the hold of the religion itself, the ummah, whatever, or solely a post-9/11 backlash thing? If it’s the latter then a solution is surely to reclaim and big up your ethnic roots.

  9. Mount Lebanon — on 26th December, 2005 at 2:22 pm  

    “Mount Lebanon, shoudlnt you be dancing naked around your christmas tree right about now? Ha Ha, I kid.”

    Is this humor?

  10. candy — on 26th December, 2005 at 3:28 pm  

    i diffently think the idea of mouth shut is not a good idea because that is just not fair but i think that no one should bring up religion because we are all equal and religion does not effect your personality and does not make you stronger or weaker.

  11. jamal — on 27th December, 2005 at 12:58 am  

    As a Muslim in the UK I feel a mix of all the things listed from time to time and probably act in all the ways listed from time to time.

    In many places and by many people, we are under the spotlight. Some of us perpetuate this, some of us fear it, some of us avoid it, some of us do neither, and some of us dont care either way.

    Muslims carried out 9/11, muslims carried out 7/7, muslims have committed various other attacks throughout the world. Some muslims support these attacks, while the majority do not. Nevertheless, muslims as a whole are still in the spotlight, and if we allow the finger to be pointed at us then it will continued to be pointed.

    Therefore it is right for us to speak up, whether this is to highlight unequal treatment, or to respond to our misconieved critics and aggressors, both muslim and non-muslim.

    We are muslims and we are british. Every group receives discrimination and every group has whingers, extremists and oppressors. We should stand up for our rights when required, regardless of “in-sensitivities”, while providing good examples to correct the misconceptions.

    The only advice from my own experiance is to not always assume the worst. Recently I have advised many other muslims that sometimes when we feel discriminated against, stereotyped, or oppressed, this is not actually the case. Sometimes we feel this way because we expect it or because we have become untrusting and sometimes even hateful towards our non-muslims counterparts. On many occasions I have found that what initially appears to be discrimination or slander, is actually due to non-muslims misunderstanding muslims, or due to them actually being overly sensitive towards. Therefore we need to speak up whenever and wherever it is necessary. This could be to defend, attack, explain, or to educate.

  12. jamal — on 27th December, 2005 at 12:58 am  

    or to clarify.

  13. Bikhair — on 27th December, 2005 at 5:01 am  

    Jamal,

    “Nevertheless, muslims as a whole are still in the spotlight, and if we allow the finger to be pointed at us then it will continued to be pointed. ”

    And the reason why that is is because while it is only a minority of Muslims who commit these acts against civilians and others, they want this to be about the ummah as opposed to it being about those who actually commit the crimes. When they ask for our collective denouncement they are implying our collective guilt.

    I dont feel guilt about such things. Its a tragedy when it happens but its Allah’s Qadr, and some other Muslims deviance for which he or she will be held accountable.

    Muslims do have certain obligations towards the kufar in their land. They need to be reminded that everything they do is a dawah so we either call to Islam or call away from Islam with our actions.

  14. jamal — on 27th December, 2005 at 6:12 pm  

    “When they ask for our collective denouncement they are implying our collective guilt”

    This is true. I too feel no guilt for such crimes, nor offer any explanation other than that all groups have deviants. Nevertheless, many non-muslims will fail to accept such a point as they want to continue to point the finger at muslims and Islam. In light of recent events, many fail to realise that our responsibility is merely to promote the good and condemn the bad. In the melee there has been a ‘plight of British Muslims’, therefore making this entire article invalied.

    We may be muslim and british, but this does not mean we must adopt the “stiff uppper lip” attitude. I neither think that those youths that fight against becoming a culture of victims are “militant”, nor that those that complain about educational/employment discrimination and being spat on in the streets are taking advantage and playing ‘the Muslim Card’.

  15. Sunny — on 27th December, 2005 at 8:51 pm  

    So why all these cries about Muslim solidarity when Palestinians are killed, but no collective guilt when Muslim kills non-Muslims using their religion as an excuse? I see double standards (and dead people).

  16. douglas — on 27th December, 2005 at 11:27 pm  

    jamal,

    I think your earlier post was a reply to me, and if so I thank you for it. It was truly thoughtful.

    There is a difficulty here, I think.

    I would tend to see a Scot, (incidentally I am Scottish), who blew up insititutions or people even, as a renegade, a person with whom I would not wish to spend the time of day. If however, the Irish and the English and the Welsh started to characterise all Scots as having the same sentiments as the renegade, it would be difficult not to circle the wagons and start to defend ‘Scottishness’ whatever that might be. And it might be just as infinite a number of things as being a Muslim is.

    It would seem to me to be difficult not to defend against an all over the shop attack, without some degree of defensiveness creeping in. I would add that, if the lunatic had picked a good target, someone most Scots detested, for instance a certain female ex-Prime Minister, it would be a false flag to say that we universally regretted the incident. We, or at least I and most of the people you might contact by randomly dialling numbers in the Glasgow telephone directory, might be unhappy about the means but not necessarily the ends.

    And that is the rub that I indicated in my first post.. People will remain calm and reasonable until an event catalyses them. Which is what 9/11 seems to have done for a significant number of Muslims. Whilst before the event they were willing to put aside grievances in the belief, largely reciprocated, that mutual tolerance was a reasonable philosophy. Now young and no doubt sassy Yorkshire lads are willing to become aggrieved and go an infinite number of steps beyond that philosophy.

    Everyone loses from that sort of polarisation of views, although I, for one, see few, except for the editors of this web site, who are attempting to pull in the other direction. In other words for a cohesiveness, which might have had an imaginary past, but had the potential to be a rosy and integrated future, even if only in our minds.

    There is little anywhere that gives succour to those of us – me really – who still think the melting pot is the answer. What has happened in the Middle East and NYC has had an effect on all of us, whether we choose to admit it or not. In my view the centre ground on race relations – in its broadest, most human sense – has taken a hell of a beating. Which i think is sad when compared to the progress made over the eighties and nineties.

  17. Bikhair — on 28th December, 2005 at 1:34 am  

    Sunny,

    “So why all these cries about Muslim solidarity when Palestinians are killed, but no collective guilt when Muslim kills non-Muslims using their religion as an excuse? I see double standards (and dead people).”

    No Sunny for the former you see hizbiyah. I am not Palestinian, it matters very little if they have a state and if they are killed as Muslims I hope they die in a state of emaan.

    If the Palestinians dont talk about Islam, they gets no love.

    There is a hadith of Prophet Muhammed (sallalahu alaihi wa salam) that says if you die on behalf of your tribe or nation, you die a death of jahiliyah. I wonder and worry how many of those Muslims have died that kind of death. What a waste.

  18. Col. Mustafa — on 28th December, 2005 at 2:17 am  

    I feel abit odd tbh.

  19. Rohin — on 28th December, 2005 at 2:26 am  

    Since the most surreal member of PP’s commenters (Mustafa) has showed up, I’ll confess something.

    When I first read this post title, I thought it said “So how do you feel a British Muslim?”

    And my first thought was “with difficulty”.

  20. Col. Mustafa — on 28th December, 2005 at 4:23 pm  

    ^^^
    hehehehe.
    Yeh, remember even if you manage to cop a feel somehow expect a swift beating at the hands of many angry jihadists who also might threaten to blow up your house.

  21. jamal — on 28th December, 2005 at 5:39 pm  

    Sunny, because people (muslims and non-muslims alike) will sympathises with the palestinien cause, does not mean they should also feel the guilt of 7/7 and 9/11. Its a silly example. If my neighbours is wrongly killed I feel sorry for him and will help his family whether he is muslim or non-muslim. If my neighbour wrongly kills another, I feel no guilt for him whether he is muslim or non-muslim. If he decides to wrongly blame it on Islam, then this is his mistake. Even though I will tell him he is wrong, his wrongdoing was no fault of mine, so why would I feel guilty?

    Douglas, many muslims will “circle the wagons” too, just as members of many groups (particularly youths) will rally the troops without considering the cause, so lets not just attributed this to muslims. However, such instances are limited in the west and the people involved are a small minority. From what I see, the marity should not and would not “circle the wagons” unless the cause is just. instead people strive to stick up for themselves and others by speaking out when they are offended, oppressed or discriminated against.

  22. douglas — on 30th December, 2005 at 1:06 pm  

    jamal,

    Thanks for the reply. My issues are probably mainly with the media and their attempts to simplify fairly complex issues into ‘us’ and ‘them’. You will rarely see any attempt made to nuance a situation. If the media want to hear the ‘moderate’ voice of Islam, they speak to Sachranie, even though many of the bloggers here have made it quite clear that he does not speak for them. The danger with this lazy journalism is that the general publics impression of what Muslims are is funnelled through a narrow filter. The idea is out that ‘community leaders’ actually do speak for their communities, rather than from their own beliefs and certainties. It is an important lesson for all communities to learn that community leaders are rarely that, certainly not anyone who has not been elected democratically.

    And even then you can have doubts. The Reverend Iain Paisley, who could have roused a rabble in a cemetery, was also good copy for journalists and in my view they furthered his political career. It is probably down to him alone that Northern Irish Protestants are characterised as bowler hatted folk thurled to a battle in 1690. I imagine there are quite a few of them that would cringe at that, however we and they should never underestimate the power of a stereotype. The risks of being stereotyped is that one reacts to the stereotype by taking on board some of its characteristics. To give a trivial example, there has been a notable increase in the number of young Asian women wearing headscarfs around here, compared to, say, a couple of years ago. Why is that?

  23. Jai Singh — on 30th December, 2005 at 2:25 pm  

    Douglas,

    =>”there has been a notable increase in the number of young Asian women wearing headscarfs around here, compared to, say, a couple of years ago. Why is that?”

    The women concerned are from a Muslim background. As are a minority who look Asian but are actually originally from various parts of the Middle East. The hundreds of thousands of non-Muslim Asian women currently living in the UK are unlikely to wear headscarves (not for religious reasons, anyway). The issue therefore has little to do with the Asian ethnic background of the women concerned and, simultaneously, does not affect all those other non-Muslim women.

    Apologies for splitting hairs — I do actually understand the point you were making — but we need to make the distinction clear here for the benefit of people browsing PP who may have problems grasping the fact that huge numbers of Asians are not Muslim and that, therefore, the trend you have described actually has nothing whatsoever to do with being Asian.

    To answer your question, some would say it is due to the recent “Arabisation” of the way many British Asian Muslims practice Islam, hence drawing it away from the comparatively more moderate version practised in many quarters of the Indian subcontinent. Whether this is due to the influx of Middle Eastern Islamic clerics/scholars into the United Kingdom (along with the promotion of Wahabbism at the expense of Sufism) is perhaps an argument for people more knowledgeable about this subject than myself.

  24. Rohin — on 30th December, 2005 at 2:46 pm  

    “along with the promotion of Wahabbism at the expense of Sufism”

    The promotion of Wahabbiism is at the expense of Islam and people in general, not just Sufism.

    On another note, sadly Sufis are close to extinction.

    PS – Jai I missed the post you made the other day about PP vs SM (the one where you said you liked me, you hear that people, HE SAID I’M COOL!) but I don’t agree with everything you said. Stick around at PP, don’t draw your conclusions too fast… :)

  25. Jai Singh — on 30th December, 2005 at 3:09 pm  

    Rohin,

    I should have phrased my statement more precisely; I meant “Wahabbism INSTEAD OF Sufism”, although of course recent developments are most definitely to the detriment of Sufism, along with Islam and the rest of humanity as you’ve already mentioned.

    If Sufis really are close to extinction, as you stated, then in my view that’s a pretty horrific development. Not just because of the “other” version of Islam which would consequently become dominant — which is already happening — but because it means that the whole mystical, genuinely spiritual, and music-focused interpretation would be lost, to the detriment of mankind as a whole. I view it as a real tragedy that the version of Islam that has gained prominence here in the West, due to recent historical events and the promotion of individuals with a vested interest, is not the joyous, uplifting, transcendent, liberal and moderate qawaali-focused ethos. Imagine how different things could be if Sufism, and its associated music, was the dominant version instead…..The force for good it could be in the West (and indeed the world).

    Damn OBL. As I’ve mentioned before, what the world — especially the Islamic world — really needs is a genuine modern-day Sufi saint to act as a counterpoint to him and to provide “real” spiritual leadership to Muslims looking for a hero.

    I stand by what I said earlier about PP, based on my own observations of the on-line behaviour of the people concerned (unlike you I obviously don’t know some of them personally), but I’m okay with occasionally browsing here. My ultimate loyalty, of course, lies with Sepia Mutiny (I think the general vibe there, and the kind of people who participate there, is more compatible with my own personality and worldview) — but you already knew that ;)

  26. Rohin — on 30th December, 2005 at 4:31 pm  

    Sadly Jai, Sufis are looked down on by a large proportion of Sunni and Shia Muslims – not all – but many. Some even regard Ismailis as being non-Muslim, leave aside Sufis. Sufism would never enjoy approval amongst many Islamic scholars as they simply think of it as too mystical, exoteric and haraam.

    If the faithful at LGF or even Harry’s Place were to meet Sufis, perhaps they wouldn’t generalise about Islam so readily. Sufis were destined to lose out in the global stakes from day 1 as they don’t possess the same evangelical urge to convert as Sunnis – who make up the majority of Muslims worldwide and are responsible for over 95% of converts.

  27. douglas — on 30th December, 2005 at 11:40 pm  

    Jai Singh,

    Thanks for the response. I am, I think, trying to make a point here. I’ll try again to spell it out. It is not in any way unique to Muslims. It is a general point that you may wish to consider.

    It seems to me that the media is guilty of two things, firstly looking for a scapegoat, and secondly listening to the wrong folk in terms of looking for a quote from that community. If you are an extremist, the media is more likely to listen to you. Viz a viz the Reverend Iain Paisley.

    The problems are two fold. Firstly Joe Public is likely to believe what he or she reads or views on the media as being an accurate reflection of reality. You have to dig pretty deep to find somewhere like this. Most people don’t bother.

    Secondly, and to specifically address the point you are making about headscarfs, it seems to me, naively perhaps, that it is the equivalent of wearing a T-shirt saying ‘here we are’. (Which I do sometimes,). In the sense that more folk are doing it, it seems to me to be at the very least an indication that Muslims are circling the wagons. ‘Here we are.live with it’, or some similar cliche. The point seeming to me to be that there is a greater alienation now than there was, say, a couple of years ago.

    Am I wrong?

  28. Sajn — on 31st December, 2005 at 12:37 am  

    “So why all these cries about Muslim solidarity when Palestinians are killed, but no collective guilt when Muslim kills non-Muslims using their religion as an excuse? I see double standards (and dead people).”

    You may hear cries for solidarity with Palestinians but have you actually seen any in practice?

  29. Sajn — on 31st December, 2005 at 12:38 am  

    “On another note, sadly Sufis are close to extinction.”

    You couldn’t be more wrong if you tried.

  30. Sajn — on 31st December, 2005 at 12:44 am  

    “Sadly Jai, Sufis are looked down on by a large proportion of Sunni and Shia Muslims – not all – but many. Some even regard Ismailis as being non-Muslim, leave aside Sufis. Sufism would never enjoy approval amongst many Islamic scholars as they simply think of it as too mystical, exoteric and haraam.”

    Sufis are actually Sunnis. Ismailis are a sub-branch of Shia-ism. As for the scholars, it depends upon which ones you follow. There are many more that approve of Sufism than those that favour the Salafi/Wahabbi practices.

  31. Bikhair — on 31st December, 2005 at 6:11 am  

    Jai Singh (THe non Muslim Asian)

    “To answer your question, some would say it is due to the recent “Arabisation” of the way many British Asian Muslims practice Islam, hence drawing it away from the comparatively more moderate version practised in many quarters of the Indian subcontinent.”

    Bull crap. Peddle your hizbi nationalistic ethnic solidarity some place else. The last thing any non-Arab Muslim needs to hear is that they are being Arabized. How about being Islamizied, or even more exact how about being Quranizied or Sunnahnized? It isnt a triumph of independent spirit for Pakistanis to be making tawwaf around the grave of thier “pious” neighbor’s dead donkey, to spite the Arabs. They are only hurting themselves.

    There is some crazy crap going on in the Indo-subcontinent. So when I read about how women from that area are treated, mutilated, burned, and ravaged, it is in lock step with the general ignorance, jahiliyah and rejection of how Prophet Muhammed did things.

  32. Bikhair — on 31st December, 2005 at 6:14 am  

    Rohin,

    “The promotion of Wahabbiism is at the expense of Islam and people in general, not just Sufism.”

    Here is a homework assignment for you. Read everything that Muhammed ibn abdul Wahhab wrote and refer back to the Quran, hadith, and refute him piece by piece. After that Muslims have an obligation to follow what can be proven.

  33. Bikhair — on 31st December, 2005 at 6:17 am  

    Rohin,

    “If the faithful at LGF or even Harry’s Place were to meet Sufis, perhaps they wouldn’t generalise about Islam so readily.”

    Why not they meet someone who actually puts into practice what Muhammed came with and not some b.s. they daddy’s daddy’s daddy were upon. The lovely Taliban were hardcore sufis.

  34. Sajn — on 31st December, 2005 at 11:16 am  

    Bikhair do me a favour and learn something about Islam before you open your mouth, your ignorant musings are embarrassing.

  35. Rohin — on 31st December, 2005 at 2:48 pm  

    Sajn – I’m sure you’re more knowledgeable about the origins of Sufism, I get my info from sources like Wikipedia, which has articles on Sufism and the History of Sufism, neither of which mention Sunni Islam as having anything to do with it.

    I thought Sufis do not even consider Sufism as a madhab, so I guess the whole point is moot as Sufism can co-exist with either Shia or Sunni. I base what I say about Sufism on those that I have met, who have told me the prejudice they have faced from other Muslims. I have only spoken to one Ismaili about religion (at a large Ismaili event in Regent’s Park about 2 years ago) and he was also very adamant that Ismailis haved faced prejudice.

    Sufis have been historically persecuted for their use of music, drugs and dance – and in the subcontinent their proximity to many Hindu practices.

    Ismailis are, as you say, an off-shoot of Shia Islam, but they have their own individual identity.

    About the extinction thing – once I said it I thought maybe I was being over-dramatic, but I base what I say on a fall in numbers since the late 19th century, when reformists tried to ‘purify’ Islam by rejecting elements they felt had crept in through Sufism (good link) coupled with the expansion of predominantly Sunnism, such that Sufis make up about 1% of Muslims worldwide.

    However, there have been signs that Sufism is regaining popularity in Pakistan and Afghanistan, despite opposition from hardliners, which I find encouraging.

  36. Rohin — on 31st December, 2005 at 2:53 pm  

    “There is some crazy crap going on in the Indo-subcontinent. So when I read about how women from that area are treated, mutilated, burned, and ravaged…”

    Yes, that stuff would NEVER happen in Arab countries, would it? Oh the inferior subcontinent!

  37. Sajn — on 31st December, 2005 at 5:45 pm  

    Rohin you might want to look up some links on places like Ajmer Sharif and Baralwi Sharif in India to see how Sufism is still very popular and thriving within the Muslim world.

    The problem arises because those that we classify as Wahabbi also attempt to identify themselves as Sunni, and because these people are better organised and generally have unlimited funds they are able to promote their own agenda to a far greater effect than they actually command in popular terms.

    The other problem is that most Muslims don’t actually think of Sufism as a separate strand so when you talk about it as another strand of Islam, there are people who don’t understand the term and respond accordingly.

    Traditional Islam as practiced by the Sufis is still the majority throughout the world and that includes the Wahabbi stronghold of Arabia.

    I am not sure about the discrimination your friend talks about and whether he was referring to how they are treated by Sunnis or other Shias. However, and sadly, it is true that there is a history of antagonism and violence between Sunnis, Shia and Wahabbi elements mainly in the sub-continent but also in Iran, Lebanon and the Arabian peninsular. I think there is also some evidence of inter Shia difficulties between the main branch of Shias and the smaller branches.

  38. Siddharth — on 31st December, 2005 at 6:23 pm  

    Just want to say to the editors and writers of Pickled Politics and the PP Commenterati:

    You guys are doing a great job. Keep it up!
    A happy, prosperous and fulfilling New Year to all

    Siddharth
    :-D

  39. Bikhair — on 31st December, 2005 at 8:02 pm  

    Rohin,

    “Yes, that stuff would NEVER happen in Arab countries, would it? Oh the inferior subcontinent! ”

    I am not saying that but how stupid and ignorant do you have to be to not know that you cant set someone on fire you cant set your wife on fire? If the people on the subcontinent are inferior it is due to thier emaan, which calls into quesiton what kind of knowledge of Islam they have. Please dont place racial or ethnic politics with me. I am a Muslim, I only have contempt for you if you are ignorant or arrogant and chose to remain so.

  40. Bikhair — on 31st December, 2005 at 8:07 pm  

    Sajn,

    “Bikhair do me a favour and learn something about Islam before you open your mouth, your ignorant musings are embarrassing. ”

    Ok, when some crazy Pakistani burns his wife or forces his children to marry by kidnapping you gonna tell me I have to learn my deen? Why not tell them to learn about Islam and know that if a woman remains silent when a marriage proposal is brought to her that is her consent, if she protest you cant force her. That is an authentic hadith. Prophet Muhammed (sallalahu alaihi wa salam) said that you cant even burn your enemies to death, let alone another Muslim and especially your own wife who you have a trust A TRUST with Allah to maintain and provide for.

    Did you know that if you burn a Muslim alive you make them a shaheed or in this case a shaheedah? Allah knows best.

  41. Sajn — on 31st December, 2005 at 10:04 pm  

    Are you taking crack or just cracked?

    What does that have to do with what you originally posted?

    Do you have any actual knowledge of what Sufism is?

    Do you know where the “Taliban” came from?

  42. douglas — on 1st January, 2006 at 2:12 am  

    Sajn,

    Perhaps, given that this a site devoted to understanding rather than flame wars, perhaps you could explain yourelf? What is Sufism all about? Where did the ‘Taliban’ come from?

    Joking: it is my job on here to post ? marks, not yours. Explain and we will all be clearer in our thinking, although I doubt any happier.

  43. Bikhair — on 1st January, 2006 at 2:37 pm  

    Sajn,

    There are Hadiths about dealing with people like yourself. Be warned. Allah knows best.

  44. Jai Singh — on 1st January, 2006 at 3:51 pm  

    Bikhair,

    Perhaps you should enlighten everyone else on PP regarding the specifics of the hadiths you speak of.

  45. Sajn — on 1st January, 2006 at 4:42 pm  

    Douglas, in a nutshell Sufism is about achieving closeness to Allah by winning the internal struggle (Jihad) against ones wordly desires. Many assume that Sufism is just about the mystical aspects of Islam but although these are quite central to Sufism, the core is about spiritual Islam. The Sufis trace their teachings back to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and His Companians (RA) specificaly Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) and Hazhrat Ali (RA).

    There are a number of Sufi Tariqa’s (roughly translates to “the Way or the Path”) the main ones being the Qadri (predominantly found in Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, parts of North and West Africa), the Naqshbandi (Turkey, Central Asia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan), the Suhrwardy (Pakistan, Central Asia) the Chisti (Syria, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh) and the Shadhlyah (Mainly North Africa).

    If you want to learn more then I suggest that you look up the following:

    Shaykh Abdul Qadir Gilani (Founder of the Qadri Order)

    Khwaja Mohiuddin Chisti (also know as Khwaja Gharib Nawaz) the most famous Sufi in India.

    Maulana Jalauddin Rumi (famed for the Whirling Dervishes)

    amongst others to give you a better understanding of what Sufism is about.

  46. Sajn — on 1st January, 2006 at 5:00 pm  

    Douglas in answer to your second question, the “Taleban” were not quite the homogenous group that the West portrayed.

    They came about as an attempt to end the vicious civil war that was going on in Afghanistan after the Russians were thrown out. At the time Kabul had been overrun by different groups within a few months and more or less constantly under seige from another group resulting in the virtual destruction of the city.

    The “Taleban” emerged primarily from the seminaries in the North West frontier Province of Pakistan where many of the Afghan refugees were still based. (At the height of the war there were about 4-5 million refugees in the camps in NWFP and Baluchistan and an unknown number that had absorbed themselves into Pakistan. Today there are still millions of refugees left in Pakistan which is probably why the “Taleban” will never be defeated.)

    When they first emerged, they were welcomed by most Afghans (certainly in the Pashtun areas) as a stabilising force.

    Whilst there were some within the “Taleban” ranks that followed Sufi teachings, the predominant were those that followed the Wahabbist/Salafi schools.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon your viewpoint) Afghans tend to place clan relationships before religious or political differences.

  47. douglas — on 1st January, 2006 at 11:58 pm  

    Sajn,

    Thanks for two useful posts. I was certainly unaware of the content of he first one and that is helpful.

    douglas

  48. Bikhair — on 2nd January, 2006 at 5:13 am  

    Sajn,

    “Whilst there were some within the “Taleban” ranks that followed Sufi teachings, the predominant were those that followed the Wahabbist/Salafi schools.”

    What bull crap.

  49. Jai Singh — on 2nd January, 2006 at 12:54 pm  

    Bikhair,

    As requested previously, why don’t you give everyone details of the Hadiths you referred to, so that people can understand the precedents you’re talking about ?

  50. Col. Mustafa — on 2nd January, 2006 at 3:29 pm  

    I knew a taleban member who didn’t follow any school of teaching.
    Infact he couldn’t even read, but he did what he was told because he wanted food.
    awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

  51. Sajn — on 2nd January, 2006 at 4:50 pm  

    Jai please don’t feed the troll.

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