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.” 
 Al-Qur’ān 6:71
There is Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon who is the Ahmedi.
Baron Ahmed of Rotherham
Waheed Alli, Baron Alli who is openly gay. Please make sure Sister that you are accusing the correct one.
Was when the Labour bill for lowering consent for homosexuals was going through few yrs ago. He supported it. Google it.
You give link that he supported it or else its not true what you are saying. You make the claim you have the burden to provide evidence.
I don’t know where you live but if you are in UK then know that Lord Ahmad can take you to court for false accusations, so watch when you make allegations as court wont take ‘Google it’ as an excuse.
Let him be my guest ….Lol. And I am in the UK. Looool. I remember reading it a few years ago and I remember “Lord” Ahmed very well. You say “Lord” Ahmed with such respect the fact that a Muslm would accept this titile is a farce! Coconuts. Oh can I be liable for that!
I have done some googling but can’t find any place where Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon has voted or spoken in favour of gay marriage or homosexuality.
Am I missing something? Or have we forgotten history that has shown time and again that by pushing a Community into a corner never works. Some may cower but some will come out swinging.
‘If we’re dammed if we do and dammed if we don’t’ then I’m very sorry to say and I say this with a heavy heart, there will be more incidents like Paris and it will have NOTHING to do with Islam but because people have been pushed and pushed and shoved and vilified and nothing they do changes anything.
When justice is lost, when proper governance is lost, when respect is lost and when hope is lost you’re in 1933 Germany and the clock is ticking over here
Sister what is to stop our community producing a document listing our requests of the Government? Look how organised the Jewish community is with its Jewish manifesto. We could organise if we had leadership.
“We could organise if we had leadership”
And with your own words you have said why it will not happen.
The Jewish community is a united community we are are so split and within the split is the liberal and conservatives, (who have more in common then they’d like to think) who side WITH the Government.
The media and the government aren’t interested in ‘normal’ Muslims; those who are concerned with the state of the NHS, or with jobs or with their children schools or with fuel bills……….no they’re interested in those who will antagonize the Muslims or those that will antagonize the non-Muslims to further whatever ‘agenda’ they want and that could simply be them wanting a ‘British Islam’ (putting aside oil and other theories)
If my co-religionists were, daily, in every corner of the globe, committing huge numbers of murders and massacres, and if a fascist state had been set up in my religion’s name – and was drawing donations and volunteers from every corner of the globe – I would be pretty hasty to distance myself from them.
Instead you rapidly degenerate into a diatribe about the Jews and their shadowy organisations, pulling all the strings behind the scenes…. thereby confirming to every sane reader that perhaps some British Muslims do have a bit of an issue.
“If my co-religionists were, daily, in every corner of the globe, committing…[rant continues on this presumption]”
In such a hypothetical scenario you may have a point. Until then, change the channel or stop reading the tabloids that would give you such a farcical impression of the world. Where does one even begin to change such ignorance…?
If only thick people with such presumptions learned maths, they would know a little bit about statistics and how damn important they are. Like “All terrorists are Muslims…except for the 94% that aren’t.” http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/01/not-all-terrorists-are-muslims/
Or the fact that 1% of all human beings on average are supposedly sociopaths. So, with Muslims comprising around 1.8 billion people, you would expect a proportionate number of criminals and terrorists in the order of millions, so they’re actually tremendously under-represented. Despite the desperate attempts at exaggeration by most of the media corps (especially those that drip-feed the likes of those who hold your views).
Right… so the data in the article you cite itself shows that between 1980-2005 in the USA 2980 people were killed by Islamic extremists, versus 200 from all other groups. Quite a ratio for a country where there are relatively few Muslims. Sorry but you can’t obfuscate the fact that (Sunni) Islam has a problem with terrorism by throwing up a slew of failed pipe-bombings by Puerto Ricans.
I’m not saying that all terrorists are Muslims, or that all Muslims are terrorists. But from Boko Haram to al-Shabab to IS to Pakistan to southern Thailand to Chechnya, it’s not credible for you to deny that Islam has a specific problem with terrorism and violence. These groups cannot be accounted for in terms of sociopathy, otherwise we’d also find a comparable number of Christian, Buddhist etc. militias popping up all over the world – but we do not.
And it’s not really a massive leap in figuring out why when we observe that whereas Jesus Christ said “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44) Muhammad recited “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world” (5:33).
Can you appreciate the difference in tone or am I being unfair?
I’m sure you’re a nice guy, but you really do your own religion a massive disservice in the eyes of non-believers by refusing to acknowledge the problem.
Normally I’d give up when confronted with the same tired, predictable recitations, but since you said I was a nice guy I’d assume the same and give you the benefit of the doubt—maybe you really don’t see the huge fallacies in your argument.
You are using an extremely Eurocentric view of those incidences you happened to have come across in your own lifetime hence you are building upon a huge observation and confirmation bias. If I were a Muslim this would only further give me the impression that all non-Muslims are hell-bent on ignorantly attacking them with no basis.
You cherry-pick quotes from Christian and Muslim scripture – as though you haven’t actually read either. You haven’t read about all the pillaging and plundering and ‘jihad’ called to in the Christian bibles…”But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’” [Luke 19:27]
My point is not to suggest how to interpret ancient scriptures but simply to look at facts and statistics without the sensationalist hype and propaganda. It is a fact that violence in the name of Islam is a mere drop in the ocean of violence in the name of Christianity (how many Muslims do you know that successfully near-exterminated the indigenous populations of almost 3 continents?). Even then, it doesn’t mean Christianity is inherently problematic – as anyone who studies violence and ‘terrorism’ based on evidence will tell you – the religious ideologies of the violent are incidental, not causative. That’s why you’ll find buddhist terror groups in Burma and Christian terrorist militias in South America – each of whom uses scripture and religious terminology thoroughly. The reason you only see the Muslims through your propaganda box at home, is the question I would direct your attention to.
Read or listen to anything by professor Reza Aslan on the usage of religious metaphors and language and why it may give the impression of religion being nothing except a post-facto articulation of violence rather than the cause. Also check out the report written by professor Arun Kundnani here: https://www.islam21c.com/politics/new-study-extremism-does-not-cause-terrorism-2/
Agreed I was cherry picking, but I think it’s fair to say that particular of our religious cherry bushes have richer crops – there are dozens of choice quotes one could take from the Qur’an and the Hadith that justify violence, but when it comes to, say Buddhism, people like the 969 movement really have to scratch around in some obscure corners to cast the Buddha as a warmonger.
And on the empirical question of which groups perform more terrorism, I suppose all we can do here is accuse each other of different forms of tunnel vision. Maybe Paddy Power should give odds on the religion of the next terrorists attackers, then we’d have something meaty – the Quakers would be 10,000 to 1 and you’d be lucky to get as much as evens on it being a Muslim.
I suppose I disagree that religious ideologies are only incidental, I think they are causative. Maybe you’re a neo-Marxist, maybe I’m a neo-Hegelian. There we are.
according to non white humanity, and non whites. i can see why some extremist fanatical WHITES were seen as devils, during the days of crusades and colonialism which hasn’t really stopped. what about the massacres committed by the WHITE terrorist super powers? you don’t see non whites dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima or Nagasaki do you? the fact is whites are very arrogant and intolerant of non whites hence they see ‘immigrants’ ( always non whites ) as a problem. see probably see it as your divine mission to ‘civilize non white humanity, talk about arrogance, you have no right to do so just because your skin is a certain colour?. if a your going to play the religion label game ill play the skin colour game 🙂 you don’t see non whites invading other countries on a scale like that of the european crusader race, you don’t see any other nations apart from the western ones making barbaric weapons of war to kill and murder human beings ( funny how its always non whites). just because the western nations have soldiers in uniforms in my eyes they’re nothing less than terrorists in uniform who receive a state salary for their professional terrorism from their terrorist governments for behaving like barbarians. white western democracy ( aka DEMON-ocracy) isn’t a religion of peace after all.
Is this an Islamic issue or one of a Government minister soliciting votes and funds?
I read all the comments on F/B with ref to this letter that Mr Pickles wrote….personal comments were made about him, which I cannot endorse, however the only comment I can make is that when an MP writes to a particular community, that he views different to his own, advising them of what is to be preached and what is not, that is political folly, regardless of faith, culture or language. Diversity in any country enhances and does not deserve to be rebuked within nicely composed words, that are in fact poisonous to those at the receiving end. There is one particular man Mr Chaudry who for me, is quite out of order as well, where to say that the murder in Paris was justified, puts a whole different analysis on Islam from the point of view of those that are ignorant to the peace and love and respect that is intrinsically Islamic. The word terrorism arises to those that see themselves apart from the community, without realising that terrorism is also within other faiths, just as it is within their own. It all stems from fundamentalism and dogma that has become completely inflexible or respective towards others and wherein tribes are formed to learn to never agree to disagree, which is part of the order of understanding the what Islam is all about and why there are those that keep their silence. Only those who know would understand that silence is much stronger than the sword. This is the web of connection that should be enhanced within all faiths, especially in a multi cultural society where no one faith should be singled out to be protected, while the other admonished. IMO this has been Conservative political folly for the community of Muslims. It is where all the future votes lie for any government that truly understands diversity of faith, culture and language making the Kingdom United, a Kingdom that is United in aspirations for all, of all faith and within all the diversity of opinion, that can be used to create an amazing United Kingdom. University books on politics cannot give anyone this knowledge without being involved over time with the said communities and understanding that we are all within humanity basically the same. Where people of ordinary life, within the UK need to be understood by those who have come from extreme privilege and not looked down upon as ‘serfs’ while they go about in their marble halls protecting those that have done extreme harm within those said walls, not those who sit outside. Where some within those marble towers have raped and harmed children for their own personal use, without ever looking back at what has been done while they aspire up the ladder of politics. Any wise PM would know what is right and what is wrong.The UK now needs to have politicians who represent the people within their diaspora completely, regardless of wealth, faith or culture. Academics do not just come from books. Mr Pickles made a mistake. I have a personal problem with his letter.Time for a change……….
Clearly his message was not aimed at Muslims, he knows full well that there is no extremism in our mosques, rather it is aimed at the potential voters and donors. Muslims are traditionally Labour voters so he knows he is not losing anything by upsetting our community.
Interesting point to note. Cameron took advice from the “muslim” who co-wrote this letter. Lord Ahmad from Wimbledon is from the ahmadiyya community. Does the government even understand they are not from us? or is this another elaborate ploy for them to fool the British public where they openly support the “islam” they the british created with that particular community
The leader of the Ahmediyya community spoke on LBC this morning. He believes that all police should be armed, that madrassahs should be monitored and friday should be government regulated.
It was the same Lord Ahmed who few years back lobbied for the homeosexual legal sexual age for consent to be lowered from 18 to 16…..?? That says everything! The Qardiani’s are being supported, from the West. Undoubtedly.
With regard to the letter, like the sister said, an election is upcoming and being anti Muslim and Islam is very popular. Sad but true. So Cameron wants to look tough and win back some UKIP voters.
Hate these symbolic dates, 9/11, 7/7 and sorry don’t even know what happened on 21/7 and do not want to…!! But anyone know the date that Afghanistan was occupied, or the date of the slaughter in Fallujah….we could go on and on.
As a community we should be united and do not let them disunite us, into the modernists and the orthodox. No we are one ummah, don’t play their game. We have the Qur’an and Sunnah and our righteous ulema. Stick to the jama’a.
I absolutely agree Sister that unity is important. We could unite perhaps under good leadership but good leadership is absent. Our Imams are leaders but their fear of the security system in this country and many others has silenced them on topical issues and rendered them unable to do their jobs.
The tragic aspect of the ummah is that they build mosques with millions of dollars but he imams are imported who have little knowledge of the day to day affairs, hardly able to perform the tasks other than leading the prayers. My request is to gather the intellectuals of the world to find a way out of the present unnecessary fears and chaos.
Can you provide any link to that? Or is it just hearsay?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon doesn’t seem to have any pro homosexuality votes on record that I can find.