When discussing morals and beliefs, it is extremely difficult not to become entangled into a debate based around moral relativity, and that difficulty is played down no less when discussing shared British values. As Muslims, just as members of any other faith, we inextricably derive our morals, beliefs, and etiquettes from our sources of religious authority, which in Islam are the holy Qur’an and the Sunnah (the prophetic tradition). Of course, an Islamic perception based upon these two sources of authority are not merely expressions of dedication based upon the sayings of a few bearded old men (as is presumed by the ignorant – Muslim and non-Muslim alike), but because the Qur’an, as being the word of God, has made incumbent upon us such a methodology. For example, the book of God says,
“Follow (O men!) the revelation given to you from your Lord, and follow not, as friends or protectors, other than Him. Little it is that you remember (by way of admonition).”
Similarly, the Qur’an also teaches the Muslim of the importance of the Sunnah, saying,
“Whoever obeys the Messenger, has indeed obeyed Allah, but he who turns away, then we have not sent you (Muhammad) as a watcher over them.”5
“But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (Muhammad) a judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.”6
“O you who believe, Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.”7
Submission to the message and dictates of the Messenger is also an inextricable part of faith (as stated in the preceded verse) since God “sent no Messenger, but to be obeyed by Allah’s leave.”8 Thus, a denial of prophetic commands constitutes a flagrant rejection of the Messenger’s prophethood, and consequently, the message of Islam. Thus, the individual who claims to be a Muslim but then turns away from prophetic guidance is termed a ‘hypocrite’ in that s/he manifests Islam with the tongue but is devoid of submission to Allah’s will in the heart. Allah says,
“And when it is said to them: “Come to what Allah has sent down and to the Messenger,” you see the hypocrites turn away from you (Muhammad SAW) with aversion. How then, when a catastrophe befalls them because of what their hands have sent forth, they come to you swearing by Allah, “We meant no more than goodwill and conciliation.””9
The basic understanding of Islamic faith and sources of authority as outlined is now being challenged by the government (much to do with think-tanks such as the Quillam Foundation) according to a Whitehall leak which has exposed depraved governmental attempts to coerce Muslims, namely scholars and thinkers, to renounce the tenets of Islam in favour of Western ideals and norms where moral injunctions are dictated by governmental agenda’s instead of the book of Allah and the tradition of His final Messenger. Of course, such bold attempts are merely indicative of the government’s lack of ability in exercising proper judgement concerning that of dealing with Muslims, as well as consulting those who have no relationship with the Islamic faith, whether in creed or action, such as the Quillam Foundation and other such outfits.
According to the leak – “a draft of the strategy, ‘Contest 2’ as it is known at Whitehall, people would be considered as extremists if:
- They advocate a caliphate, a pan-Islamic state encompassing many countries.
- They promote Sharia law.
- They believe in jihad, or armed resistance, anywhere in the world. This would include armed resistance by Palestinians against the Israeli military.
- They argue that Islam bans homosexuality and that it is a sin against Allah.
- They fail to condemn the killing of British soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan.”10
It is clearly evident from the leak that the government and its Zionist counterparts wish to gag those in the Muslim community who speak out against oppression and terrorism – be it in all of its forms. Furthermore, in keeping with the oppressive regimes of Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries, the British government hopes to silence any dissent or belief which it deem to be contrary to their own ambitions and interests. The strategy known as ‘Contest 2’ seeks to curtail freedom of belief, freedom of speech, and freedom of thought by sidelining so called extremists, the definition of which the strategy seeks to expand. Evidently, the above points will radically paint the majority of Muslims with the extremism brush, and will have, instead of vilifying specific individuals as the government allegedly intends, vilified the general populace of the Muslim community (as well as many non-Muslims from without).
However, the strategy is, in actuality, a failed one that has been in effect for quite some time. Although there will be a new more given emphasis on it (more so than before), the strategy will once again fail due to the fact that the government relies on outfits such as the Quilliam Foundation as a source of understanding ‘extremism’ who have not only warped political ideas, but the establishment of their Islam being extremely questionable. What has always struck me as absurd is the ability of an individual who had some dealings with Hizb-ut-Tahrir and Jama’aat Islami in college to be considered a bonafide ‘ex-extremist’ – the insinuation being almost laughable! The fact is that Ed Hussain has no inkling of what ‘extremists’ believe or feel simply for the fact that his so called extremism took him through secondary school into college, a period in life when all are quite naive and tend to see things with somewhat of a tunnel vision. If his claims hold any sense of respectability, then we may also conclude that a teenager who happens to smoke Cannabis occasionally should be regarded as a fully fledged drug dealer and gangster who maintains a Cannabis farm and supplies drug connections everywhere! But of course, CV’s tend to look larger than life when you’re getting paid £85,000 per annum by the government.11
There are, however, upsides to the leak in that the strategy will achieve in doing something the Muslim community has not yet done, and that is to draw up a list of points pertaining to Islamic creed upon which the Muslim faith rests. Merely taking the aforementioned points into consideration we may note that most actually stand as creedal principles within Islamic theology.
For example, advocating the caliphate has always been a thorn in the side of the British government, ever since its colonial pursuits against the Muslims took force against the Ottoman Empire. Of course, a renewed call for the establishment of an Islamic state undermines their colonialist aims to divide and conquer, as the whole premise of a caliphate is to unify Muslims under the banner of God in service to righteousness, rectitude, and piety, as well as afford them a place whereby their Islamic identity may be made fully manifest. The caliphate is a principle established in the book of God, whereby Allah states,
“Allah has promised those among you who believe, and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them khilafah (succession to the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practise their religion, that which He has chosen for them (Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange, after fear, security, provided that they worship Me and do not associate anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after this, they are the rebellious and disobedient.”12
Similarly, the belief in the supremacy of Islamic law is a creedal requirement whereby the Qur’an states,
“To you We have sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that has come to you. To each among you we have prescribed a law (shir’ah) and a method (minhaj). If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. It is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which you dispute; And this (He commands): Judge you (Muhammad) between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they beguile you from any of that (teaching) which Allah hath sent down to thee. And if they turn away, be assured that for some of their crime it is Allah’s purpose to punish them. And truly most men are rebellious.”1
To seek another method of governance is to revert back to the days of ignorance before the advent of the coming of the final messenger of God, a period of darkness, ignorance and oppression as Allah states, “Do they then seek the judgement of (the Days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allah for a people who have firm Faith.”14 Although the belief in the supremacy and incumbency of shari’ah is a creedal matter, no Muslim has ever called for it to be forcefully implemented in the UK or the west for that matter, but rather, its forceful implementation has been a falsification spread amongst the non-Muslim masses by some politicians and media outlets.
As for Jihad or armed resistance waged for the sake of God in accordance to the lofty morals of Islam, it is also a creedal point (as are most of the rest), and logically, neither problematic nor ‘extreme’ as all humans agree upon the use of force to remove oppression and injustice. The Qur’an states,
“And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and for the oppressed among men, women and children who say, ‘Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper’? Those who believe fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of false deity (Satan, etc.). So fight you against the friends of Satan; Ever feeble indeed is Satan’s plot.”15
Such were the fabricated reasons of the US and UK invasion of Iraq whereby after realising the pretext of weapons of mass destruction didn’t work, they shifted their reasons to that of being the liberation of Iraqi’s from the then considered oppressive and evil regime of Saddam Hussein, although they were the ones who propped him up in the first place. Similarly, the massacre of innocent Gazans by the tyrannical state of Israel was something that drew the world’s attention and condemnation, yet if a Muslim were to claim the right of a Palestinian to take up arms against evil soldiers who shell children asleep in their beds and shoot mothers in their backs, s/he would be deemed an ‘extremist’; but then again rightly so, as the images of the Gaza massacre manage to incite extreme feelings of sorrow, anger, and pain, not only due to the bonds of faith, but also that of humanity.16
The attempt to suppress the right of a people to self-defence is simply a strategy to silence the cries of those being massacred for the greed of the elite. Jihad is to wage physical and spiritual combat against evil, to the extent that it is an internationally shared ideal as found in article 51 of the UN Charter which states, “Nothing in the present charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs…”17
The most blatant endeavour to alter the Islamic faith is to make homosexuality a norm in the eyes of Muslims. Such a mission is ridiculous especially in view of the fact that it is not an attempt to establish homosexuality as a norm, but a depraved attempt to excommunicate Muslims from the Islamic faith by encouraging them to reject the law of Allah. The Qur’an explicitly states,
“And (remember) Lot when he said to his people: “Do you commit the worst sin such as none preceding you has committed in all of creation? Verily, you practise your lusts on men instead of women. Nay, but you are a people transgressing beyond bounds (by committing great sins).”18
““Must you, of all people, [lustfully] approach men keeping yourselves aloof from all the [lawful] spouses whom your Sustainer has created for you? Nay, but you are people who transgress all bounds of what is right!” They said: “Indeed, if you do not desist, O Lot, you will most certainly be expelled [from this township]!’’ [Lot] exclaimed: “Behold, I am one of those who utterly abhor your doings!” [And then he prayed:] “O my Sustainer! Save me and my household from all that they are doing!” Thereupon We saved him and all his household – all but an old woman, who was among those that stayed behind; and then We utterly destroyed the others, and rained down upon them a rain [of destruction]: and dire is such rain upon all who let themselves be warned [to no avail]! In this [story], behold, there is a message [unto men], even though most of them will not believe [in it].”
In light of the aforementioned verses, does the government actually assume that the Muslims will say “Oh, even though God has told us the homosexuality is an evil act, it can’t be that bad because the British government has told us otherwise!”? Homosexuality is an abomination in the sight of God to the extent that all the Abrahamic faiths (as well as others) agree on its iniquitous nature – something that won’t be changing anytime soon. However, a belief in the sinful nature of homosexuality neither leads to ‘extremism’ or the murder of homosexuals by Muslim zealots in the UK (or any western nation for that matter), and so, the belief in the vileness of homosexuality has no bearing on the government’s counter-terrorism strategies.
And finally, the illegal invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan has been a major cause of difference between jointly Muslims and non-Muslim and the government. Indeed, two million people took to the streets of central London in order to protest against the illegal invasion of Iraq. Given that the occupation was, and is, illegal, many people Muslim and non-Muslim alike agree to the right of Iraqi’s and Afghani’s to take up arms in self-defence. Innumerable stories have come out of Iraq of young girls being raped and then killed along with their families by western soldiers, as well as young men forced to perform sexual poses and then being tortured. How then can any sane and rational individual then sanction the Iraqi’s for their revenge attacks?! As George Galloway said on Question Time a few years ago, if an Iraqi were to attempt to attack then Prime Minister Blair it would be understandable given the fact that Blair’s dog-like devotion to Bush’s policies probably led to the death of a loved-one. How can anyone rationally argue the one who has been tortured, raped, or whose family members have been killed, has no right to defend themselves by whatever means necessary, but instead should quietly submit to the illegal occupation of his/her home and live with indignity? The claim is outrageous and the idea even more preposterous!
The strategy is riddled with contradictions and incongruity with the targeting of Muslims being all too blatant. It is ridiculous to even claim that the strategy will actually make us safer as Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5 stated, “I think people are fully aware that the more you intrude into people’s civil liberties, the more you set up grievances for people to, you know, encourage people to do all the unpleasant things that are going on.”19
To claim that the strategy is not an affront to Muslims is nonsense, as a general implementation of such a strategy amongst all Britons would in reality ensure most citizens being considered extremists. For example, there are many Christians who hope to see the return of a Christian Europe, and many Zionist Jews who would be keen on expanding Israel to the Nile to the West and Euphrates to the East; there are many Jews who prefer their Beth-dins to the British Courts, and many Christians who believe in Christian based laws – both faiths (as well as many others) consequently considering homosexuality a sin against God; there are Zionists who support the terrorist actions of Israel just as there are many protestors from among Socialists, Anarchists, Liberals etc. who agree with the Palestinian spirit of resistance – armed or otherwise; and many of the same people believe it is the right of Iraqi’s and Afghani’s to defend themselves and their homeland against imperialistic invading nations. How many of the above shall also be categorised as radical, fundamental, and extreme?
It is extremely ironic that a country that so proudly claims to be secular has now attempted to serve as a theocracy silencing religious beliefs that oppose malign political ambitions. As such, Rimington accused politicians of trying to outbid each other in their political opposition to terrorism where it “has become much more of a political issue than it ever was in my day,” she says. “Parties are tending to use it as a way of trying to get at the other side. You know, ‘We’re more tough on terrorism than you are.’ I think that’s a bad move, quite frankly.”20 And, of course it is, especially in light of the Gaza massacre which was primarily due to the Israeli election and each party vying with the other to claim a tougher stance on Hamas and Palestinians.
The truth is that Muslims are not first of all British citizens, but citizens of the Muslim ummah (nation) who serve and protect humanity21, and who must continually side with the oppressed and weak whoever and wherever they may be. Islam recognises no border, race, nor nationality, and thus in keeping with the high morals and ideals afforded us by the shari’ah, the Islamic humanistic approach must not be confined to a depraved nationalism where the desires of a few in government are pandered to.
As once the famous phrase “for Queen and country” took resonance, and now we constantly hear the hollering of Americans constantly quoting the US constitution as if it were divine writ, Muslims must make clear that our intentions are first and foremost for God and then humanity. However, as Muslims who live as a minority in the secular west, we understand that although we cannot implement the law of God in the land, we are at liberty to believe in its supremacy and opt for it whenever we are able to do so – such as marriage, divorce, funerals, finance etc., a rule that is actually based in the Qur’an, “Have piety of God in as much as you are able.”22
The supremacy of the UK over other western nations has always been manifest, in that the freedom and equality afforded to the British citizens is yet to be rivalled in some western states. Additionally, the British sense of nationalism has generally accompanied a sense of justice, in that the mass populace of the UK are not known to support the government when it is clearly acting unjustly (as in the case of the anti-Iraq war march). However, the proposed strategy contains absurdities that are commonly found to be espoused either by governments who have always openly manifested their Islamaphobic sentiment or by Zionists seeking to suppress any opposition to the subjugation they place upon others. And so, it is extremely shocking that the aforementioned strategy even be devised, considering that the UK wishes to be seen at the forefront of freedom, liberty, and equality.
The strategy is another attempt to shift the focus of UK foreign policy onto ‘home-grown terrorism’ a term which is ironically suitable given the fact that, as Rimington mentions, “Guantánamo Bay, the practice of extraordinary rendition, and the invasion of Iraq – three issues which the majority in Britain’s security and intelligence establishment opposed privately at the time,” play a major role in fostering resentment. “She challenges claims, notably made by Tony Blair, that the war in Iraq was not related to the radicalisation of Muslim youth in Britain. Asked what impact the war had on the terrorist threat, she replies: “Well, I think all one can do is look at what those people who’ve been arrested or have left suicide videos say about their motivation. And most of them, as far as I’m aware, say that the war in Iraq played a significant part in persuading them that this is the right course of action to take.”23
It is thus in this vein that we assert that governmental strategies would be best served focusing on the issues that are actually causing a culture of resentment in disaffected youth such as foreign policy and extended periods of detention as opposed to Islamic creedal matters that have nothing to do with a secular state and only serve to further tangle a complex situation which will inevitably lead to alienation and further resentment.
The views expressed on Islam21c and its connected channels do not necessarily represent the views of the organisation.