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  • Well I never…

    by Sunny
    21st May, 2007 at 5:21 pm    

    …thought I’d see the day Soumaya Ghannoushi refuting Hizb ut-Tahrir’s warped ideas openly. “I am often amused to hear Hizb’s members analyse international politics,” she says. True, but on a scale only slightly more than Ms ‘imperialism is to blame for everything’ Ghannoushi herself. Anyway, credit where it’s due.
    Also worth reading is Zia Haider Rahman’s thought-provoking (as usual) article today.

                  Post to

    Filed in: Muslim,Organisations

    59 Comments below   |  

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    1. Kj — on 21st May, 2007 at 6:45 pm  

      At least she can have an open debate without throwing insults or childish remarks hint Sunny ;)

    2. Saqib Sattar — on 21st May, 2007 at 7:10 pm  

      Interesting…first time i have come across Sister Soumaya Ghannoushi - though I am acquainted with the work of her father.

      The top down approach to changing society is borrowed from the experiences of some of the more radical secular ideologies. However, like anything else ideas are developed through a complex set of external stimuli, and often do ‘deviate’ from more objective sets of principles.

      HT developed as a reaction to a situation where Eureopan colonization had established ruling elites who were of secular orientation and not representitive of the values, ideas, attitudes and indeed ideals of the massess who were mainly rural dwellers. These had an iron grip on power, and were not willing to relinquish it until a process of secularisation had been carried through. This was more pronounced in the Mid-East, North Africa and Turkey.

      Hence the solution for some of the Islamists like HT was to grab political power to re-Islamicise the political order and its institutions. However, too much had changed in the period of colonialism to simply go back to a more Islamic ideal. For one the development of secular elites who wanted to go one way had created a very real divide in society, and this needed a different approach. This problem persists to this day, with Muslim societies being unable to step forward with confidence in their own polity.

      This is where HT do depart from mainstream Islamic theology, where the case of reform has always been about individuals and working through a bottom-up approach. To be fair, I don’t think HT have a uniform approach of top-down change ala Trotsky and his ‘continuous revolution’, but only an approach to initial de-colonisation.

      HT have tried to develop an Islamic political discourse, even allowing for some of the flaws, and this has been important in the Muslim World. Different voices are needed, like Sister Soumaya’s to develop a contemporary conceptual framework for Muslims.

      Sunny…you don’t seem too keen on her work…perhaps you can point me to her works which you find objectionable…that would interest me. thanks

      I’m sorry if it comes across if i’m rambling on…on just on a revision break and have to be quick as exam is 9:30am tomorrow.

    3. Joolz — on 21st May, 2007 at 8:22 pm  

      Different voices are needed, like Sister Soumaya’s to develop a contemporary conceptual framework for Muslims.

      There already is a contemporary conceptual framework for Muslims. It’s called liberal democracy. It’s the framework in which everyone else in Britain operates. That Muslims are too frightened, defeated, intellectually sectarian and malformed that they feel they have to develop their own ‘conceptual framework’ apart from filthy and lower ‘infidels’, or to connect with the rest of the modern worldm it’s no surprise that they are wallowing in self pity, backwardness, separatism, resentment, victimhood.

    4. Saqib Sattar — on 21st May, 2007 at 8:48 pm  

      “That Muslims are too frightened, defeated, intellectually sectarian and malformed that they feel they have to develop their own ‘conceptual framework’ apart from filthy and lower ‘infidels’, or to connect with the rest of the modern worldm it’s no surprise that they are wallowing in self pity, backwardness, separatism, resentment, victimhood.”

      Thank you Joolz for your contribution. The point about liberal democracy is fine, however you need to develop the argument and not state it as a fact written in divine writ ala 10 commandmants. Europe witnessed the development and rise of many different conceptual frameworks/ideologies in the 18th and 19th Centuries respectively - at times mutually incompatible, however through the passge of time the better ideas won through. I would love to develop the argument further myself…however time is not on myside…however i won’t claim victimhood on this occasion.

      I must say if the picture of Muslims was as bleak you you have painted life really wouldn’t be worth living.

    5. Joolz — on 21st May, 2007 at 8:58 pm  

      There is no ‘Muslim conceptual framework’. All there is is a desperate attempt to gloss things with a sectarian Muslim veneer because the believers in Islam’s innate and timeless superiority to all non believers they are grasping at straws to come to terms with the ascendancy of the principles of liberal and secular democracy, which causes a grievous and punch drunk inferiority complex in them.

      All people thrive under liberal democracy. It protects minorities, protects the individual, grants universal human rights and equality to all people. And yet it irks Muslim ‘conceptual framework seekers’. That tells you more about their stunted minds than it does about anything else.

      It means that Islam is nothing special, just a religion amongst many, and is ‘demoted’ from primacy over humankind and all people, to being the same as Hinduism, Judaism, Rastafarianism, Transcendental Meditation, Christianity and everything else. And that cuts the deepest.

    6. Joolz — on 21st May, 2007 at 9:02 pm  

      Well, it cuts deep amongst many other things, as well as displaying an inability of ‘Muslim thinkers’ to come to terms with the principles of Universal equality of all people, true democracy, multi-culturalism in its most egalitarian form, a tradition of imperialistic thinking and viewing non Muslims as inferior and existing in a state of half formed humanity. The reasons for the ramblings of Sister Soumayya and her kind are manifold and complex, these are just a few significant ones.

    7. William — on 21st May, 2007 at 10:08 pm  

      Saqib Sattar

      Thanks for explaining a few historical issues in a way I can understand.


      You seem to have it in for them don’t you. Sure you are not generalising just a tad too much.

    8. lithcol — on 21st May, 2007 at 11:01 pm  

      I may be wrong, but aren’t people born into the world as independent human beings. We are not born Christian, Muslim, communist etc.

      Now the particular society we are born into may arrange things such that critical thinking etc is encouraged and valued, or it may be more restrictive and may with varying degrees of coercion try to impose a way of thinking. In the former more will contribute to the advancement of society and society will prosper. It is a brave individual who challenges the later. Many will mouth the mantras for a quite life. Long live secular democracy, we can all have a say. I would probably have been burnt at the stake in an earlier life, possibly not brave enough though. Don’t know.

    9. Sunny — on 21st May, 2007 at 11:10 pm  

      Well, it cuts deep amongst many other things, as well as displaying an inability of ‘Muslim thinkers’ to come to terms

      Joolz, got anything intelligent to say or are we going to be subjected to a barrage of broad generalisations without knowing who or what exactly you’re referring to and how come you can tar everyone with the same brush. Read what Saqib is saying please, don’t just trot out the same crap.

      Saqib: HT developed as a reaction to a situation where Eureopan colonization had established ruling elites who were of secular orientation and not representitive of the values, ideas, attitudes and indeed ideals of the massess who were mainly rural dwellers

      Not sure about this. From reading, it seems the Muslim Brotherhood are more a reaction against secularism and colonisation than HuT. HuT types exist in every religion - people who want political entities to be run along strict orthodox religious lines. Only only has to hear the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and their dreams of a Hindu nation to get the parallels. I’d say the HuT dimension is deeper than simply a reaction against imperialism.

    10. Rumbold — on 22nd May, 2007 at 12:02 am  

      Saqib: “HT developed as a reaction to a situation where Eureopan colonization had established ruling elites who were of secular orientation and not representitive of the values, ideas, attitudes and indeed ideals of the massess who were mainly rural dwellers. These had an iron grip on power, and were not willing to relinquish it until a process of secularisation had been carried through. This was more pronounced in the Mid-East, North Africa and Turkey.”

      This suggests in some way that the rulers Europeans displaced were very religious. Often, as in India, the British liked to keep around rulers as figureheads, because they understood the power of tradition and religion, while many of the ruling elites stayed the same. Too much is usually ascribed to the impact of colonialism, since it diverts blame. Your example of Turkey is quite puzzling, as although Ataturk was inspired by Christian Europe to modernize and secularize, it was very much a Turkish revolution, and had nothing to do with colonialism.

      “I must say if the picture of Muslims was as bleak you [Joolz] have painted life really wouldn’t be worth living.”

      Good point.

      I tend to defer to Sunny on HuT, as he seems to have got the measure of them.

      Below is the previous Pickled Politics thread on Soumaya Ghannoushi:

      Good luck with your exam today.

    11. lithcol — on 22nd May, 2007 at 1:11 am  

      Most people in this country have never heard of Hut, never mind the obscurantist opinions of Muslim scholars. They are certainly not interested in the finer points of Christian ideology. As far as they are concerned, muslims are a shaggy bearded strangely clothed bunch of losers , of course they would recognize shaved western dressed individuals of the Muslim persuasion as fellow westerners .The former are out of place and out of time. Its problemic trying to comprehend the high and mighty the right rev. Arch. Of Cantebury, dressed in all his finery, much like a Christmas fairy.

      Indeed history recounts the irreverence of many Brits. Off to church, say a few prayers, have a sing song and at the end of the service off to the local hostelry for a bite to eat and some ale. Followed by some rumpy pumpy. Sunday a day of rest and debauchery. Fantastic.

      Life is for living and not for preparing for the hereafter.

    12. soru — on 22nd May, 2007 at 10:00 am  

      @Rumbold: yes, one of my pet hates is the mutation of the word ‘colonialism’ so it covers approximately every action ever taken by western nations, every response and counter-reaction by other nations, but no actions initiated by other nations. Even nations with a history of expansion-by-force, ruling territory with inhabitants of a different culture, language and religion, moving populations around voluntarily and involuntarily, and with the word ‘empire’ in their full name.

      On the other hand, the history of Turkey, like that of Japan and even Russia, clearly does have a lot to do with military competition with europe. They did radically reorganise their societies for the dubious privilege of being able to get stuck in to the big boy’s wars of the 20C as full participants, not territories to be fought over.

      The US right-winger Sam Huntingdon expressed this paticular point well:

      “the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”

      The problematic view is when that gets reversed, so it seems that a poet, playwright or prophet can’t get the respect shown to Shakespeare until a sufficient number of people charge a machine gun nest in his name.

      Just look at how Irish writers stopped being considered quaintly rural about 1916, or the extra attention paid to islamic art, doctrine and political thought of late.

    13. sonia — on 22nd May, 2007 at 10:54 am  

      yes soru i hear you.

      i think it would be safe to say that both ‘east’ and ‘west’ ( what a silly dichotomy) we humans have a global history of organized violence, and powerful groups seeking to maintain and extend that as far as possible.

      i don’t know that claim of huntington is very useful - it further emphasises a made-up distinction. i think most people forget what a crummy lot of wars through history led us to where we are now.

      “On the other hand, the history of Turkey, like that of Japan and even Russia, clearly does have a lot to do with military competition with europe.”

      Not Turkey as a modern nation-state - but I suppose you are referring to the Ottomans? Certainly they were a empire built on military victory - certainly it was about ‘global’ domination or as ‘global’ as poss. Ataturk came at a time when nationalism was the rage and the Ottoman Empire was being dismantled anyway after they picked the losing side in WWI.

    14. sonia — on 22nd May, 2007 at 10:57 am  

      of course the whole idea of a nation state appears to be that it is inherently competitive with other nation-states - so naturally Ataturk’s nationalism was all about how Turkey could rise from the ashes of the powerful civilizations that had existed in that area for centuries, and compete in the ‘modern world’ and Europe.

    15. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 22nd May, 2007 at 11:11 am  

      Wow. Critism of HuT! By a Muslim on CiF! My what good work Ed Hussain has laid down. Lets hope this ball keeps rolling to positive ends.

      I’m going to get myself an Ice Cream!


    16. Saqib — on 22nd May, 2007 at 12:51 pm  

      Just a quick point (finished my exam..went really crap…can’t wait for them to be over!)


      I think my post was slighlty over-generalising, the brotherhood did indeed come before HT. However i don’t really distinguish too much between the two in these general terms…both developed out of a particular context, and tried, in differing ways to provide an ‘Islamic alternative’ to the prevailing ideas. They both tried, in different ways to borrow the secular language and concepts of modernity to adapt this alternative. This type of cultural translation is a very difficult task…big topic which i won’t go into now, but i would like to develop it later. Suffice it to say for now that some ‘Islamic responses’ appear almost ‘right-wing’ others appear ‘left’.

      If one reads the works of Syed Qutb i.e. ‘Milestones’ one will find much similarity in thinking between the two - even allowing for the differences they have subsequently had. I am not saying we ignore ‘subtle differences’…time permitting they can be evaluated.


      This point wasn’t clear in the post…i included Turkey not due to it being colonised, rather to say to talk about the inherent divdie being felt in Muslim societies…Turkey in this regard is a good example…the recent demonstrations prove this…a military interfering so much to protect the state is not a good recipe…just look at Pakistan!

      I accept the point about the leaders and elites not being especially ‘religious’or even representitive, however this did not play it self out in society at large. The article by Sister Soumaya talks about different centres of power…and the civic institutions in most muslims societies were able to function as per usual with little interference. Ironcically the modern state, with its huge apparatus has actually done more to bring a state uniformity. Turkey again is a prime example with regards to Islamic schools and friday sermons which are heavily state endorsed.

      Sonia, just want to pick up on your point, i don’t it is necessarily always the case that nationalism is simply about being ‘competitive’ with other nations. A lot of the European Nationalism in the 19th C is sometimes refrred to as ‘liberal nationalism’ as the thinking for some of the liberals (who represented the aristocracy) was that the creation of a nation which exercised power in the name of the people. i.e. nation was a pre-condition for a more liberal state, as the common problem at hand were empires who ruled through absolute monarchy’s.

      Similarly, the nationalist movement in areas of the East were at times trying remove occupation i.e. India.

      Even German nationalists in the 19 C wanted a liberal constititional framework. I think the influence of romantic thought with some extreme nationalists which i think you are refereing to were initially a fringe in Germany.

      I thought i may just throw that into the debate… i actually have an exam on ‘Nationalism’ this friday, so the topic is curently at the forefront of my mind.

    17. Sunny — on 22nd May, 2007 at 1:11 pm  

      finished my exam..went really crap…can’t wait for them to be over!)

      sorry to hear that mate. hope its not our fault!

      I am not saying we ignore ’subtle differences’…time permitting they can be evaluated.

      I think they’re more than subtle… for Muslims anyway. Soumaya for example as close to MB for example, so I doubt she would agree with you. After writing the article she will now probably be finding out what happens when you speak out against another Muslim org…

    18. Rumbold — on 22nd May, 2007 at 2:04 pm  

      Fair enough Saqib. Nationalism is always a tricky beast to get one’s head around.

    19. sonia — on 22nd May, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

      saqib, I know that’s what was said about nation-states - i.e. the rationale for it. doesn’t mean it didn’t perpetuate the same problems. ( standing armies? wars? nation-states? wasn’t just ‘empires’) in much the same way we hear the idealistic discourse about the muslim ummah and the khilafah etc.

      in any case any social group obviously has the capability to see itself as a bounded entity and most unfortunately do. the more social legitimacy we give to ‘bounded’ entities this sort of thinking will go on and on. that is why i am interested in theorising organisations as ‘networks’ of individuals - rather than as a bounded entity.

    20. soru — on 22nd May, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

      Not Turkey as a modern nation-state - but I suppose you are referring to the Ottomans?

      I was thinking specifically of how the nation-state Turkey came into being, in the aftermath of WWI, and in particular how Ataturk is given credit for defeating Churchill at Gallipoli.

      A few years earlier, Japan beat Russia:

      This was the first major victory of an Eastern country over a Western one in the modern era, and a harbinger of future events that would lead to decolonization. Japan’s prestige rose greatly as it began to be considered a modern Great Power.

      Take a look at the soldiers of the most militantly anti-western states on the planet:


      North Korea


      Count how many specifically european or american cultural symbols you can see - the stars on the helmet, the coloured sashes and crests on the horsemen, the peaked caps with badges.

      It’s pretty transparent when those nations criticise ‘western colonialism’, it is on the basis of of seing it as a party to which they are not invited.

      Back on topic, I think the same applies to HuT - they are empire dreamers. Just as Turkey was militantly secular, in the same period Japan was promoting militarist state-sanctioned Zen Buddhism and Shintoism, complete with bogus pseudo-religious justifications for suicide attacks.

    21. sonia — on 22nd May, 2007 at 2:28 pm  

      my reference being - in case it isn’t clear why i see ‘bounded’ as negative - that boundary construction of ‘us’ and ‘them’ is a significant part of the ‘dehumanising process’ which you see built up as part of war rhetoric. ‘they’ are ‘our’ enemies - ‘they’ don’t deserve ‘our’ pity/mercy etc.

    22. sonia — on 22nd May, 2007 at 2:29 pm  

      HuT are definitely empire dreamers - more than that - they want back glory of their previous empire.

    23. sonia — on 22nd May, 2007 at 2:30 pm  

      or what they fondly imagine was ‘their’ previous empire though obviously one could argue at some point some of their ancestors were being colonised by Muslim armies. unless they want to claim direct descendance from Mohammed - that is.

    24. sonia — on 22nd May, 2007 at 2:32 pm  

      surely colonisation doesn’t belong to ‘anyone’ - nationalism and national symbols appear to be a global concept..what’s with the ‘western’ symbol thing? sympbols are symbols. naturally if you’re trying to be a bully you want to bully someone else, and you’re annoyed when someone else is in top dog position.

    25. Soso — on 22nd May, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

      The absence of an ecclesiastical institution in Islam has freed the religious text of the monopoly of any one group and made it the property of the entire community of believers. All are equidistant to the text. In the absence of a clergy that claims ownership of truth and imposes its own interpretations on laity, a great multitude of schools of thought emerged, in jurisprudence, as in theology, in philosophy as in linguistics. The intellectual stagnation of the last few centuries is no reflection of the general character of Muslim history.

      This may sound like a good game, but the absence of a centralised clerical authority means that “freelance” islamists are able to interpret Muslim texts in any way they see fit. Islam’s tanscendant truths become, then, merely a set of utilitarian precepts, sometimes invoked and sometimes not, depending on the challenges being faced.

      The competing interpretations, and the chaos and confusion that inevitably ensue, means that only the strongest thugs get to impose THEIR narrow interpretation on everyone else.

      Soumaya presents this as an asset; as proof that Islam is a *democratic* theololgy, when in fact it’s the faith’s achilles heel.

      With no central authority to decide between right and wrong, good and bad, heretical and orthodox, all opinions/fatwas become equally valid….and invalid.

      In light of that, the only possible outcome is the sencario in which might-makes-right.

      The moral confusion, then, becomes the petrie dish nursing and feeding the various strongmen we now see populating the political establishements of practically EVERY Muslim-majority nation on earth.

      She’s right about Islamism and Islamist groups, but for all the wrong reasons.

    26. soru — on 22nd May, 2007 at 4:41 pm  

      what’s with the ‘western’ symbol thing?

      I just mean in terms of origin, not ownership.

      For example, the idea of indicating high military rank by wearing an increasing number of 5-pointed stars on one shoulder is near-universal. I don’t think there is any military that uses, say, circles on the waistband instead.

      It’s not that way just by random chance, or because that way of doing it is functionally better, like camouflage or rifle drill.

      On a related theme, take a look at these rulers:

      Hamid Karzai

      the Sultan of Oman

      Prince Faisal

      President Kabbah

      Sultan of Brunei

      All of them, as it happens, owe their rule at least partly to british troops at one time or another over the last 40 years.

      Uncoincidentally, if you put them in a parade of world leaders, they would stand out as the ones not wearing western-style business suits.

    27. Sunny — on 22nd May, 2007 at 11:59 pm  

      In light of that, the only possible outcome is the sencario in which might-makes-right.

      Not really… because if anything, Hinduism is even more decentralised than Islam.

    28. Jagdeep — on 23rd May, 2007 at 1:11 pm  

      These discussions about the caliphate and ‘Islamic Ummah Union’ are like having discussions about how cheese and onion crisps will one day rule the world through unity and a superior legal system and value system.

      That’s what it is — it’s liberal secular democracy being challenged by cheese and onion crisps (walkers, monster munch, tescos own brand uniting)

      The silliness of it all, the irrelevance of it to addressing the major social and cultural and political issues of our time, the half-witted utopianism of it all, make it all seem like a farce to engage in cheese and onion crisp imperialists discussion. Give us a break.

      It’s so pointless, ridiculous,

    29. sid — on 23rd May, 2007 at 2:03 pm  

      It’s so pointless, ridiculous,

      Jagdeep, that’s probably the best reaction to Islamic political exceptionalism. Rip the piss out of the imbecilic, pie-in-the-sky nature of these demands for an Islamic state rather than validate them with froth-soaked, impotent rage which does nothing but aggravate the situation.

      One good Richard Pryor piss take would be better than one hundred Decent blogs to tackle HT and RESPECT.

    30. ZinZin — on 23rd May, 2007 at 2:09 pm  

      Sid, Jagdeep post 28 was nothing more than a crude smear on cheese and onion crisps. Shameful and my Asian wife agrees with me.

    31. sid — on 23rd May, 2007 at 2:14 pm  

      My Asian wife and I thank you from the bottom, ZinZin.

    32. ZinZin — on 23rd May, 2007 at 2:15 pm  

      It should be the new “some of my best friends are..” or “I’m not racist, but…”

    33. sid — on 23rd May, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

      I hate Asians, but you and my Asian wife are alright…

    34. Jagdeep — on 23rd May, 2007 at 2:30 pm  

      The West is oppressing Cheese and Union Ummah Unity!

      Death to Prawn Cocktail Flavour!

    35. Jai — on 23rd May, 2007 at 3:00 pm  

      Looks like it’s time for a midweek blarney thread, eh folks ?

    36. justforfun — on 23rd May, 2007 at 4:15 pm  

      Jai - get back to work

    37. Jai — on 23rd May, 2007 at 5:38 pm  

      Jai is on annual leave and plans to wreak as much havoc as possible on Pickled Politics during this limited time.

      Devil, work, idle hands, etc etc.

    38. Muhamad — on 23rd May, 2007 at 6:08 pm  

      Siiiistaa Soumaya
      You’ve got it going on!
      If only I wasn’t a “Muslim atheist”, I’d get my diplomatic father to talk to your father. I think I fall in love easily.

    39. Saqib — on 23rd May, 2007 at 7:46 pm  

      “sorry to hear that mate. hope its not our fault!”


      Well I have to say it is…all those Islamophobic comments…well they have left me traumatised…i can’t believe the victimisation i have suffered …must be a Zionist conspiracy…distract and demoralise Muslim students through aggressive blogging!

      Getting more serious (only slightly) no it was all down to me, poor (non)attendance of lectures! Anyway got another two for this week.


      I can see that the debate has moved on, interesting exchange between Sonia and Soru - even Soso has made an interesting observation. I would like to provide a considered response to what soso has said, however time really doesn’t allow me at present.

      Sonia, I’m fascinated by your ‘networks of individuals’ take on group bonds…perhaps you may like to develop this further. I do take your point about the obvious excesses and bad history of nationalism with aggressive intent to others, and I am no nationalist - trust me I don’t believe in nationalism as a concept - period. However it wasn’t just in theory that many 19th Century Liberals thought the creation of nation states would guarantee constitutionalism and rights…many did actually participate in unifying disparate principalities ruled by absolute monarchies through Empires, and did establish constitutional states, by participating in and developing ‘nationalist sentiment.’ An example is that of the Italian Giuseppe Mazzini…there are others who I can’t remember (need to revise about them). Even I wasn’t aware of this, however I feel we need to give them due recognition.

      As for the Muslim ummah, well that isn’t an ‘idealistic’ entity formed through a political bond - it is far deeper, and is rooted in the consciousness of Muslim societies. If it was purely political then one could, argue it is a non-entity, for historically the world of Islam has not had a central powerbase since the days of the early Caliphs, rather there have been dominant ones, i.e. Ottomans, Mughals, especially in latter days.


      If it isn’t too much of an ask for our contributors who feel that ‘Islam’ ‘Ummah’ Caliphate’ are not worthy of discussion, and are like onions etc…I would simply request this… that you actually do articulate and substantiate your views against claims made, because if you are right and if your method is about debate and reason, then the debate, from your perspective is there to be won. If you don’t, then you may well be claiming, based in your belief in ‘liberal secular democracy’ that all people are capable of rational thought and choice - except Muslims.

      Ridicule may mean you score a few cheap points in the short term, however in the long term people buy into your sincerity and humility as a person, and most importantly of all the strength of your argument. The reality of Voltaire’s strength wasn’t ultimately the satirizing of his foes; it was the strength of his arguments - though I concede he did lack humility (which could explain why so many people weren’t particularly fond of him)

      What I will say is that the issue of Islam, society and state IS clearly an issue…the recent happenings in Turkey do demonstrate this. Many young Muslims who are educated and whose lives, ostensibly were secular, could now be characterised as more ‘radical’ as the Policy Exchange think tank called them for wanting sharia, and of course, as the media sometimes wants to claim with a real sense of fear and panic (check out that FOX news in particular), that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the West.

      Let me state again, from your perspective the debate is there to be won.

      It’s interesting how the issue of challenging ‘secular liberal democracy’ has come through on this tread, started initially by my comment of developing a ‘contemporary conceptual framework for Muslims’ not the whole world - but Muslims, not about world domination - but Muslims. What I have said is nothing novel, people like Tariq Ramadan et al have written much more extensively on these types of issues.

      I think I should conclude with the title of this thread…

      Well, I never…

    40. Jagdeep — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:00 pm  

      Cheese and Onion Crisps!

    41. Jagdeep — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:02 pm  

      Oh yes, Muslims need a special conceptual framework from everyone else, because they are exceptional, just like cheese and onion crisps.

    42. sonia — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:13 pm  

      interesting saqib. i think you’ll find lots of people love talking about islam the caliphate and the ummah round here - ha ha. there was this whole thread elsewhere..can’t remember now. we went on and on and on.arif asked some sensible questions and a lot of us had fun having a go at each other ( as we do :-) ))

      dunno where you grew up though, for some of us there is far more reality to this ‘ummah’ and sharia business than ‘debate’. like can i just say i found out - very naive of me not to know - that i cannot initiate a divorce in my own country -isn’t that nice? f**ckng mullahs.

    43. sonia — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:15 pm  

      its all right for you british muslims sitting here nice and tight - got your maroon passports, you can run back here, isn’t it. not left to the mercy of the Mullahs at the end of the day - so yeah -theoretical debate - for you I understand. For a female from a Muslim country - well my friend, it’s different.

    44. Jagdeep — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:20 pm  

      What are you talking about sonia?? Muslims in Britain are oppressed, persecuted, repressed, persecuted, oppressed and…..ummmm…..persecuted and stuff…..

    45. ZinZin — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:26 pm  

      Where is Anas? when you need him? This debate is shaping up perfectly for him.

    46. douglas clark — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:43 pm  


      Interesting post, as usual. Could I take a shot at it?

      The problem with any absolute belief system is just that, it is absolute. It is also prescriptive in it’s belief that what was good for the fathers is good for the sons, and so on ad infinitum. Daughters don’t get a look in. By it’s nature, it resists change. It is, in effect the drag factor on a society, much as the Catholic Church - the only church - was prior to the Reformation.

      It has a particularily rosy view of the past. It takes no account of the undoubted squalor of these times. It gives to itself the political without a corresponding link to the practical. It holds assent to a political belief system, for that is what it is, above all else. It is apparent that people who cannot succeed in other spheres can succeed as censors, thought police, etc, etc. If this reminds you of anything - perhaps the Soviet regieme, with added God - then we would be on a
      course to mutual understanding.

      It is a recipe for a static society, while the rest of the world moves forward. Did I mention that a static society is a dead society? No? Well I will now.

      So, the question everyone should be entitled to ask is whether that is a system of government they approve of, are happy with, gives them liberty, equality and support. And for their children, and their childrens children. If you opt for religious dictatorship, now, then you are storing up resentment and wars later. Life does not go on in the vacuum that marginal political theorists occupy.

      It is a dynamic thing. Things change. Folk get educated, fathers are dead chuffed when their daughters do well at uni, and can’t hack it in a debate with said daughter when she asks the ‘why’ question. People are entitled to change, to question. They are not sheep. A religiously structured society does everything in it’s power to suppress that.

      For instance, when I was young; long, long, ago, women had to give up work if they ‘fell pregnant’. UK, 1960s.

      I would not assume that anything, much, can stand up to the maelstorm of change. Only those that adapt to it will succeed. The more ridiculous adherents will push the more sensible away. It was ever thus. Expect to see a whole lot of Muslim apostates by the 2050s. Perhaps the majority of the so-called Ummah.

      My best shot. Fire away! After your bloody exams.

    47. Saqib — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:43 pm  

      ‘Where is Anas? when you need him? This debate is shaping up perfectly for him.’

      wow…you actually need reinforcements.

      I really feel quite flatterd!

    48. ZinZin — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:49 pm  

      Saqib you don’t know who Anas is do you? If you did you would not make such an idiotic comment.

      Anas is an I/P obsessive and a believer in the islamophobia myth. He is also a good blogger and a great lad.

    49. douglas clark — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:52 pm  


      Are you lurking? ;-)

    50. William — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:52 pm  

      Things change and they should

      In the 1950′s in this country a young woman could be contained in a mental institution for becoming pregnant.

    51. Saqib — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:55 pm  

      thanks douglas

      Likewise you make good points in this post…interesting prediction of 2050…I’m 28 now so I may just be able to witness for myself the picture…who knows we might even have Khilafah…well if I were a betting man I might have fancied a flutter, i’m sure the odds would be extremely lengthy!

      I will fire away on this after the exams…for now I need some sleep

    52. Saqib — on 23rd May, 2007 at 10:59 pm  

      zinzin I take back my words…I stand corrected and ready to eat humble pie…as long as it’s halal.

    53. douglas clark — on 23rd May, 2007 at 11:03 pm  


      Thanks. I agree with you. Your point reminds me of just how insidious the Catholic Church was in Ireland, what was the name of that movie?

      It is only after the current consensus has been overturned that people realise that the sky has not fallen. There would have been folk back then that argued for continued incarceration in Bedlam. Damn strong pillars of the community they would have been too :-)

    54. William — on 23rd May, 2007 at 11:07 pm  


      Good luck with your exams.

      If they are anything like History exams I remember them as being like slow torture for about 4 weeks.

    55. douglas clark — on 23rd May, 2007 at 11:09 pm  


      Sleep tight, and best of luck in the exams. Look forward to continuing this somewhere. Though hopefully not in 2050. I’d be 102!

    56. William — on 23rd May, 2007 at 11:12 pm  

      Last year at an Inter Faith meeting a prominent Muslim man from Leicester (forgot his name) told a
      group of us that Islam has been constantly reforming
      itself for hundreds of years. Not sure what he means
      with my limited knowledge of Islam.

    57. douglas clark — on 23rd May, 2007 at 11:22 pm  


      I think we are on to something. I seem to remember that the Kirk, in my case, considered women to be, how can I put this, something less than men. Adams rib, maybe.

      The question that arises is, given that women do better than men educationally, why would they accept that? It is, I would argue, the Achilles heel of all organised religions. Maybe.

    58. Saqib — on 24th May, 2007 at 5:17 pm  


      Thank you very much for wishing me luck…so many people on this forum have wished me well on them, and, finally it seems to have worked…did very well today, mind you only started revising last night about one question.

      I wrote about an Italian gentleman by the name of Beccaria, who is credited with ushering in a new approach to the European penal system. I would love to read and study more of his work and the reforms he forwarded.

    59. Saqib — on 24th May, 2007 at 6:11 pm  


      I can see that these topics are popular here…hey i’m all for banter and quick witted responses as opposed to…well… half witted psuedo-intellectuals.

      I appreciate your point about coming from a Muslim country…and yes i am British born and bred, so i am not as personally affected by the political happenings in other countries.

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