Today those of us who have read Eric Pickles letter to Muslim community leaders and Imāms are reeling in shock as we and our leaders appear to be held collectively responsible for acts of criminality committed by Muslims in France and elsewhere.
Mr Pickles says, “Let us assure you that the Government will do all we can to defeat the voices of division”. Perhaps he can start with himself then, since he has clearly played right into the hands of the Islamophobes and growing far right by insinuating that the Muslim community may be harbouring or even encouraging violent extremists in our midst. Even worse, the implication is that actions taken by violent extremists past or future at any place in the world, is somehow our failure. The whole letter asserts that the Muslim community is a collective, and somehow “otherises” us into a not quite British people who need further integration or who need our Imāms to teach us “British Values”.
Apropos “British Values” – I am from a British background, and the right to provoke, denigrate and insult is absolutely not a British value and never has been. The notion of foisting your ideas on someone else is alien to my culture, especially denigrating religious figures in hideously vulgar ways in the full knowledge that it would cause hurt and an outcry. I am glad to see that common sense has prevailed amongst British editors who have made decisions not to publish offensive cartoons despite some people, who are given far too much prime time on television and who I personally regard as having a totally alien culture, pushing hard for Muslims to have their noses rubbed further in the dirt. Which editor would like to hold the responsibility for the potential death of their colleagues at any time in the future or even the deaths that are happening in the Muslim world at demonstrations against the cartoons, all of which are predictable and wholly preventable? Who would like that on their shoulders?
It is impossible to ignore the fact that this is an election year and that the anti-immigration party, U.K.I.P., have been gaining in popularity recently as we endure difficult economic times in Britain. It is easy for the average man on the street who cannot make ends meet to make assumptions about foreign people taking their jobs, however the reality is much more sinister. Bankers and speculators have stolen the wealth of the nation, massive multi-nationals are not paying enough taxes, years of privatisation and the demise of the manufacturing industry means that there are few jobs to be had, and the blame for that lies with governments past and present.
The Conservative party is reliant on funding for its election campaign and past copies of the Jewish Chronicle show that the Jewish community are very proud to publish that they are major funders of both the Labour and Conservative political parties. It is important to remind readers that 80% of Conservative MPs are members of Conservative Friends of Israel. Would it then not be understandable if MPs were especially keen to court funding from wealthy Jewish donors and that in return Jewish people may expect their voices to be heard on matters of policy that affect their community? It is not illegal to have lobby groups promoting certain interests but it is very unfortunate that one of the major interests of the Jewish lobbies is promoting the interests of the State of Israel which, conversely, seems to necessitate the need to raise levels of Islamophobia. Evidently the vision of a strong and thriving Ummah is perceived as a major threat to the State of Israel’s existence, therefore division and conflict are the major ploys used to weaken us. Sadly promoting the case for Israel impacts negatively on issues of International justice where the influence and vote of countries such as the U.K. at the United Nations, for example, means that Israel is not held to account for its many breaches of International law and failure to comply with United Nations resolutions.
The victims of Israeli impunity are mainly Palestinians (both Christian and Muslim) and one of the biggest “radicalising” factors referred to again and again, both in interviews in the media by representatives of the Muslim community and by those who choose the path of violence in their “martyrdom videos”, is absent justice and foreign policy. It is very easy to feel that justice is unobtainable for Muslims and the facts are there every day as we read of another Palestinian child arrested, shot or imprisoned; another Palestinian family made homeless; on and on it goes with no end in sight. Witnessing Netanyahu recently participating in a peace march was definitely most infuriating, particularly after the onslaught last summer in Gaza that left over 500 children dead and many of the homeless still living today without proper shelter. For our community, not only do we have to put up with having our Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) insulted but we are expected to denounce criminal acts by other Muslims in another country that have absolutely nothing to do with us and then, to rub salt into our gaping wounds, we have to see Netanyahu in the front line at a “peace” march.
Whilst the Muslim community is engaged in struggling to survive, so organised is the Jewish community that their representative body, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, produced a “Jewish Manifesto” laying out what they would like to see the political parties do for them. Most of the actions that the Jewish community would like to see prioritised by any government are exactly what Muslims or indeed any faith community would desire: protection of ritual slaughter; funding to protect places of worship; faith schools; and the right to circumcision, all of which are absolutely compatible with aspirations of the Muslim community. However, the manifesto which is set out in the form of “10 Commitments”, presumably a take on the 10 Commandments given to Moses (ʿalayhi al-Salām), becomes very problematic where it directs the British government to support the State of Israel because
The UK Jewish community has a very strong attachment to the State of Israel. A 2010 survey by the Institute of Jewish Policy Research (JPR) showed that 95% of UK Jews have visited Israel and that 90% view Israel as the “ancestral homeland of the Jewish people”.
Which, of course, would have been fine if the Palestinians had not already been living there for centuries. If it is indeed the case that the State of Israel has such a strong support base in the U.K., it begs the question as to the loyalty of Jewish citizens to Britain. We are aware that Jewish youth go to fight in the Israeli Defense Army, what might happen if an International Criminal Court at the Hague were to find that there were war crimes perpetrated in Gaza, Palestine? Will the British government assure us that we will not be harbouring war criminals amongst the British citizens who went to fight? Such a question is perfectly legitimate when we already experienced how William Hague was hijacked in Tel Aviv on his first visit there as Foreign Secretary and coerced into changing British law so that Israeli figures accused of crimes such as Tzipi Livni and various military leaders were able to enter the U.K. without fear of arrest.
David Cameron recently gave speeches to the Jewish Community on the Jewish Festival of Hannuka, and after the shootings in Paris, which left no doubt whatsoever of his high regard of the Jewish community in the U.K. and his loyalty to protect them. Theresa May last year gave a speech to the Conservative Friends of Israel group where in one paragraph she linked Israel/Palestine to anti-semitism in the U.K.
How do we ensure that Israel has the safety and security its citizens deserve? How do the Palestinian people get the self-representation they desire? What can we do – and here in Britain this is still shamefully a topical question – what can we do to prevent anti-Semitism in this country and across Europe?
Indeed the Jewish manifesto overtly alludes to this problem when it states “Anti-semitic incidents shoot up at times of heightened tensions in the Middle East”. Does this identify the possibility that each time that Israel bombs another Muslim country back to the stone ages or calls for others to do so, in the cases of Iraq previously or Iran presently, that people attack Jewish individuals who may be totally innocent of those acts of State aggression? But, wait a moment – our government is spending millions on trying to secure the safety of the Jewish schools, places of worship and to stem a possible rise in attacks against Jews, but it is not calling on any Jewish leaders or individual Jews to condemn Israeli attacks on Palestine or other lands in the region, or dissuade individual youths to go and fight for their beliefs. Is that not a clear case of double standards?
Back to the Pickles letter – our mosques being suggested as places of radicalisation is laughable if it were not so tragic. Since 9/11, 7/7 and 21/7 our community has been under huge surveillance. Every mosque has been infiltrated by undercover police, by reporters wearing secret cameras to record lectures, by C.C.T.V. monitoring every move supposedly as protection for the children attending madrassah from sexual predators (Westminster has had more than its fair share) or for reasons of building insurance. Our Imāms and elders almost faint at the mere mention of anything slightly political being discussed, our mosques have become places to quickly pray and leave instead of the thriving community centres they should be. Mosque leaders invite and kowtow to local M.P’s who desire to register good relations with the Muslim community, often whilst stabbing us in the back by voting against matters dear to us in the Commons. Even when people come to the mosque to enter the Muslim faith we have to be racked with doubts as to how genuine they are, as undercover police have posed as men interested in Islām, converted and entrapped brothers who ended up in prison after allegedly promoting jihād. 
Will our masājid become as dead as the churches that stand empty? Is this perhaps the objective? To reduce Islām to a set of rituals instead of Islām as a thriving and politically active community? We saw how last week’s Panorama conflated Orthodox Islamic leaders and their followers with extremism. To be a mainstream orthodox Muslim, no matter that you have no criminal tendencies, you may be considered only a stepping stone away from terrorism. The Muslim leaders such as Sheik Haitham al-Haddad who is often portrayed as extreme because he is teaching orthodox Islam is one such scholar who should definitely be promoted as a leader of the majority community of Sunni Muslims in the U.K., precisely because he is a scholar whom many of the youth would follow, listen to and respect. Sadly, the respected scholars such as Sheik Haitham are subject to endless campaigns to ensure their voices are not heard by the youth on University campuses by the extremist lobby groups such as Student Rights, an offshoot of the Pro Israel and Islamophobia peddling Henry Jackson Society. Orthodox Muslim values are no different from Orthodox Jewish values. It is the issue of the State of Israel that sours relations between the Abrahimic religions who lived in harmony for centuries before 1948.
Eric Pickles imagines there is something called “British Islām” and that Muslims will be both Muslim and proud to be British. The Government are completely deluded and misguided by charlatans who are making careers as “reformers” or ex-extremists who are inventing a so called “progressive Islām”. Extremists are extremists whichever end of the spectrum they currently find themselves at and should not be trusted, certainly no one in the Muslim community trusts them in fact there are names such as Nawaz, Namazie, Deen and many others who spell the kiss of death for any government backed version of Islām no matter how much airtime they are given nor how slick their presentation skills are.
Muslims in Britain feel under siege with this constant barrage of attacks from within and without our community, and it may be easy to feel that the Government hates Muslims, but I would be prepared to stick my neck out and say that individual government figures are not in fact inherently anti-Muslim, they do not hate us, they just love votes and Jewish funding more.
قُلْ أَنَدْعُو مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُنَا وَلَا يَضُرُّنَا وَنُرَدُّ عَلَىٰ أَعْقَابِنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَانَا اللَّـهُ كَالَّذِي اسْتَهْوَتْهُ الشَّيَاطِينُ فِي الْأَرْضِ حَيْرَانَ لَهُ أَصْحَابٌ يَدْعُونَهُ إِلَى الْهُدَى ائْتِنَا ۗقُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّـهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ ۖ وَأُمِرْنَا لِنُسْلِمَ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ ﴿٧١﴾
Say, “Shall we invoke instead of Allāh that which neither benefits us nor harms us and be turned back on our heels after Allāh has guided us? [We would then be] like one whom the devils enticed [to wander] upon the earth confused, [while] he has companions inviting him to guidance, [calling], ‘Come to us.’” Say, “Indeed, the guidance of Allāh is the [only] guidance; and we have been commanded to submit to the Lord of the worlds.” 
Notes: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/56577/tories-solicited-cash-werritty  http://website.thejc.com/home.aspx?AId=46698&ATypeId=1&search=true2&srchstr=++%22big+jewish+backers+%22&srchtxt=0&srchhead=1&srchauthor=0&srchsandp=0&scsrch=0  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E70BwA7xgU  http://www.bod.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/BoD-Manifesto.pdf  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chanukah-2014-david-camerons-speech-at-reception  http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/128165/the-message-prime-minister-we-must-fight-hate-all-weve-got  http://www.jewishnews.co.uk/may-conservative-israel/  http://www.cageuk.org/case/