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Why I am voting for BREXIT

This article is part of our EU Referendum debate series, click here to read more.

Articles to Remain in the EU:

Why I am voting AGAINST BREXIT

The Muslim vote on the Referendum must be to REMAIN

Articles to Leave the EU:

Why I am voting for BREXIT

The Muslim Brexit – No Justice No Peace

This article comes with a big disclaimer: Bad things are going to happen if we leave the EU. But then bad things are also going to happen if we remain in the EU. There is no simple answer to the problems faced by Muslims in the UK but the least we can do is to try to vote in a way that appears most likely to minimise the risk. All I hope to do in this article is clear up a few common misconceptions and raise some points for discussion and contemplation.

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to elicit views from Muslims on the Brexit question. So far I have found most Muslims are in favour of remaining in the EU but the reasons do not seem very well thought through.

By far the biggest reason given is the bad company anyone voting to leave would be in. Of course, UKIP, BNP, Britain First and every Little Englander want England to be little again. Cream scones and mugs of tea, and Antiques Roadshow on a Sunday; in their eyes none of what makes Britain Great comes from abroad so they, of course, want nothing to do with Europe. However, their xenophobic way of looking at this does not mean we cannot want to leave the EU for other reasons.

It is often assumed that a Leave vote would hand power to those xenophobes but I am struggling to find a basis for believing that. They are not elected to positions of power, a Brexit would not suddenly put them in charge and much of the popular support gained with fear-mongering about the open borders policy would be gone. If anything, UKIP’s whole reason for being would vanish if the UK regained its independence. Mission accomplished. They’ll still rumble on trying to stop mosques being built and trying to force us to treat women like men but their biggest winner of support is the immigration issue and with that addressed their support would likely dwindle.

On that issue, because many Muslims are from an immigrant background there is a tendency to defend the concept of immigration. However, it is not a very clear cut issue. There is no way the UK can function without a steady stream of skilled immigrant labour. It used to be the case that immigrants were sought from the commonwealth countries and, in fact, quite broadly from around the world to fill whatever needs arose and the UK graciously granted each of them full citizenship. That changed when the EU free movement policy came into being, filling us up from only one part of the world and leaving no capacity (psychologically perhaps more than physically) to take immigration from the rest of the world. Now it is very difficult for someone from outside the EU to get full citizenship and immigration generally is thought of more negatively than ever before, creating new problems for non-EU immigrants and their descendants.

I do not see it as inherently xenophobic to want a points based system to allow controlled immigration from the whole world rather than uncontrolled immigration from just one part of it. It is standard for the xenophobes to want to stop an immigration free-for-all but that does not mean it is not actually a sensible move.

Another major factor for backing Remain is the misplaced feeling many have that the EU moderates the UK policy makers who are attacking Islam. There is so little reality to this that it is hard to understand where people get the idea from. Many, many people, even some respected Muslim organisations, are still mixing up the European Court (and convention) of Human Rights with EU membership. The fact is, if we leave the EU we will still be just as bound by the ECHR which is run by the Council of Europe,[1] and even if we remain the UK could still abandon the ECHR as they are not linked.[2] That being said, it is worth noting how little use the ECHR has been for Muslims in Europe. When France’s niqab ban was challenged it was thrown out as being “not discriminatory” because the ECHR judges pretended not to see past France’s transparent tactic of also banning balaclavas and other face coverings that no one wears.[3]

What we are also bound to are the judgements and law making of the European Council and Court of Justice. It is not an easy figure to calculate, but estimates are often that between 10% – 65% of new laws affecting the UK are made in Europe by people we did not elect and who we have almost no chance of challenging.[4] Just a few weeks ago, the European Court confirmed that G4S in Belgium banning its Muslim staff from wearing the hijab was “not discriminatory” because, just like the ECHR, they pretended they could not see past the inclusion of “all religious symbols” in the company policy.[5] Of course, a hijab is a piece of clothing not a symbol and no one else is really effected by not being able to wear symbols but the transparency of this was apparently too hard for them to see. It seems neither the ECHR nor the EU court have any interest in defending the needs of Muslims. In the UK, G4S confirmed that employees would not be affected by that decision.[6] The lesson is that the UK’s Equality Act offers Muslims more protection than the EU court.

Still, for some reason, many Muslims think that if our government brought in a law negatively affecting Muslims, EU judges would rise to our defence. In fact, it is the judges in Europe we should be worried about and the fact that our judges and politicians in the UK, even if every single one them was a practicing Muslim, would still have no ability to change laws enacted EU wide.

Laws that are actively being pursued around the EU are bans on the niqab (so far France, Belgium and Holland), hijab (many countries in various settings such as universities, schools, government jobs, plus the new EU ruling allowing all companies to ban them if their national laws allow it), halal slaughter (Denmark) and the circumcision of males (many countries in the EU have actively pursued banning it). It is vitally important to realise that despite legal challenges, within the EU there has been little or no help for Muslims over these blatantly discriminatory restrictions on their life. EU membership has done them no favours. If our sisters were forced to remove their clothes to go outside, if our boys were unable to be circumcised and if we were unable to eat meat life would be dramatically harmed for Muslims, some would say it would be impossible to live here. I feel quite sure the evidence points to it being much more likely to come from the EU rather than it happening in the UK first. And, if it did happen here first, I can see no evidence to point to any likelihood of help coming from the EU.

Some ask that were we to leave the EU could the UK not ban these things anyway. Of course it is possible, but the most important difference is that we would have a chance of challenging it here, if it comes from the EU we would have no chance.

In the UK we tend to believe the level of xenophobia among the British people is quite high because we see it in isolation from comparisons to other countries. In fact, the UK is probably one of the least xenophobic countries in the world. It is certainly not as good as it was before the influx of EU immigration but, when deciding on the issue of who we want to be making our laws, we need to compare the voters here with the voters in the rest of the EU. Really, it is the voters we need to be concerned about, what the people are like. Looking at the past and present, there is a pattern of higher amounts of xenophobia, nationalism and fascism in Europe than the UK. Within living memory, Nazism was popularly taken up in Germany and Austria, Vichy France was almost as bad, fascism took hold in Spain and Italy. Britain had some Black Shirt fascists prior to WW2, but it just does not seem to take off here like it does in the rest of Europe. A little earlier in history, and I could well be accused of splitting hairs as they were all bad, but, the generally agreed ranking of colonialists put the British as the least bad, with the Spanish and Dutch being worst in terms of disrespect and oppression, Germans, Italians and French not much better. For some reason the British tended to be less brutal and tended to destroy the pre-existing cultures less. Most recently, a genocide of Muslims was carried out in the Balkans and the current rhetoric against Muslims from eastern European leaders would make Donald Trump blush. Last week an Italian national newspaper decided to offer its readers free copies of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.[7]

If you have kept up with the rise of anti-Muslim group PEGIDA in Europe, you can compare their huge rallies in Germany to the far right efforts in the UK. Being called off in Liverpool because no one turned up;[8] getting kicked out of Leicester,[9] twice;[10] Stevenage;[11] Dublin,[12] and London on a weekly basis.[13] Fringe groups of hooligans persist but they are more than matched by the “Antifa” anti-fascist movement. By contrast, in Austria a few weeks ago, a far right candidate of a party with historical ties to Nazism was a percentage point away from being elected president. In the UK the idea that someone akin to the Britain First leader would get 50% of a general election vote is laughable but, across the EU, support for far right political candidates is increasing, not least for Members of the European Parliament. Very often, for how strongly they speak out against Islam and as mentioned above, these are the people who will decide our laws in the near future.

I do not want to completely downplay the xenophobia we have here in the UK or overplay the situation in Europe but it is good to look at the comparison and reflect on the direction of travel. In the past and present, the popular support for these xenophobic types of movements around Europe points to an acceptance of their ideology by the common man and this is very important when it comes to guessing what politicians could do next in a democracy.

At the very least, any politician in the UK who wants to legislate against Islam has to move more slowly here. When Theresa May announces a review of Sharia councils of course we feel victimised but we should also be aware that elsewhere in Europe they would more likely just go ahead and close them down without any consultation. While being at the forefront of many policy decisions detrimental to Muslims, on the question of the niqab David Cameron said it would be un-British to tell people what they could and could not wear. I do not know what it is exactly, perhaps the feeling that we must live up to the pride giving concept of the British sense of fair play, but our lot just does not seem as bad as their lot. Perhaps the current leaders are not much better, but I think the British public is significantly better and, in a democracy, that does count for something.

It is clear that in most economic issues there is little clarity; no one knows the future so it is all speculation. Respected financial advisor Martin Lewis says that maybe it is slightly safer to stay in the EU, but admits that is only so because there is slightly more uncertainty with leaving, not because he knows it is safer. In the end he advises that with no clear good or bad choice the thing to do is consider any other factor which is important to you and then vote according to that.

Economic and other factors aside, I think, as Muslims we must be most concerned with the direction the EU is taking with regard to Islam and law making that affects Muslims. If the restrictions on Muslim life became so much we would not be able to live here; what does the economy matter in comparison? We should look to who is in the EU, the people and the politicians they elect, to decide if we want to be tied to whatever the popular vote there is. Effectively, a vote to remain with the EU is a vote to have the British public carry only an 8% say in European Council votes on legislation affecting the UK.[14] A vote to leave the EU is a vote to regain law making within our shores and regain our potential to influence it.

We all signed a petition asking that Donald Trump be banned from just visiting the UK while most Muslims do not know that the next President of the EU from July 1st, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, more than saying he wants to restrict entry of Muslims, has said Muslims have no place in his country at all. Its most likely stemming from the language barrier but it is typical for how out of touch we are with the EU. We get up in arms about a potential American President but know nothing about the person confirmed to be the next President of our own United States of the EU.

Is it not our life experience that positive changes can only come with action, with expanding the possibilities? Clinging to the status quo because of a fear of change, putting up with a system that was put on us before we were born just because it is what we are used to, is limiting the potential for positive change. For the reasons stated above, I will be voting to Leave the EU but, whichever way the vote goes, I ask Allah that it is the best for the Muslims.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] http://www.coe.int/en/

[2] http://ohrh.law.ox.ac.uk/brexit-rights-and-the-potential-scrapping-of-the-hra/

[3] http://www.ihrc.org.uk/publications/briefings/11159-european-court-of-human-rights-judgement-on-french-laws-banning-the-niqab-and-burqa

[4] https://fullfact.org/europe/uk-law-what-proportion-influenced-eu/

[5] http://www.bailii.org/eu/cases/EUECJ/2016/C15715.html

[6] http://www.ibblaw.co.uk/insights/blog/bosses-can-ban-religious-clothing-eu-judge-says

[7] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3636670/Italian-newspaper-draws-criticism-Mein-Kampf-giveaway.html

[8] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/liverpool-fascist-march-cancelled-after-barely-anyone-turns-up-10457614.html

[9] http://www.huffpost.com/uk/entry/uk_574091dae4b00006e9aeb50f?edition=uk

[10] http://indy100.independent.co.uk/article/britain-first-goes-back-to-leicester-gets-chased-out-of-town-again–WkeuyUkevmW

[11] http://class-struggle-anarchism.tumblr.com/post/92918070059/britain-first-chased-out-of-stevenage-by-royal

[12] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/pegida-supporters-chased-out-town-7331245

[13] https://www.rt.com/uk/339141-britain-first-flee-london-mosque/

[14] http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/council-eu/voting-system/qualified-majority/

About Abdullah Thomson

Abdullah reverted to Islam from agnosticism 10 years ago. He works in allied health and as the secretary of his local mosque. He continues to try his best to understand the challenges of the dunya in the light of revelation and tries to bring his experience of previously being a British non-Muslim to his da'wah efforts.

50 comments

  1. The British (especially the English) voted for Brexit to regain our independence, nothing more or less.
    Forget all the rubbish predictions of doom. Get on with making this country a success, all races, creeds and colours. Stop constantly whinging like children.

  2. All Muslims should be removed unless they start respecting the country they chose to live in and stop moaning about their rights. You dont have rights. There are laws in every country and if its so bad here then piss off because you are not welcome until you show some respect and stop segregating our society. Fit in or f”ck off. simple

  3. Mohammed Kashem

    My case for remain is that restrictions on inter border movements for Europeans will make it harder for aid and relief to reach the Muslim refugees stuck in the Jungle. My case for remain is that if Britain is not part of the EU, it will mean less political pressures on the government to look after those refugees and do it’s share and also means there will be no political pressure on the government to respect the rights and welfare of it’s citizens. My case for remain is that britain’s property development and construction industries have benefitted from the skilled hardworking Eastern European migrants who are more than happy to live in unlicensed HMOs. My case for remain is that it means we still have the opportunity of migrating for work or education or a better standard of living if needs must. The pound has dropped in value dramatically as a result of Brexit. Britain’s economy can no longer sustain itself on its own resources because its indigenous population lack the skills and knowledge needed. Rather than scaremongering by telling people our NHS and education system is dying because of foreigners, why not take the several billion spent on warfare and ammunition and arts and use it to invest in specialist training and apprenticeship schemes for core services like healthcare and teaching and construction. In fact, the government has cut bursaries and grants and is making higher education only available to the very wealthy which means the rest of the country (a vast majority) will end up without the same skills and resources and knowledge needed to compete on the global stage. We will end up like the proletariat (proles) from George Orwell’s 1984. Education is power and the government should have delivered more to invest in education and reform rather than creating a smokescreen and throwing it’s last hand just because there are too many immigrants in the country!

  4. I commend Br. Abdullah and Br. Ibrahim on two extensively researched and well written articles. However, the net sum of reading, digesting and cogitating over all this data and further commentary is information overload.

    I’m not going to compound either argument with even more information, everything that one needs to make a real ‘informed’ decision, in a clinical, mind over matter, rational argument, is well and truly covered here.

    However, i’ll tell you where i’m at….I believe Britain needs to have a strong voice and actively engage in all discussion and conversation, together, I believe, is better. Whether you think we can achieve this outcome through an exit or by staying in, that’s your call.

    The single biggest thing for me though, is a much more emotional argument of the heart. The very fact that a bunch of islamaphobes and closet racists like Nigel Farage, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Katie Hopkins the EDL, BNP and their ilk are all foaming at the mouth for a Leave vote makes this a simple no-brainer for me – a definite IN. I stopped over analysing the arguments as I knew I could never rationalise myself to be in the same camp as them.
    If this bunch of right wing fanatics get the Leave vote, its simply a vindication of all past policies, vitriol and vilification and a clear mandate to hit Muslims harder!

    Stay in!

    • Again, this is a case of voting decided by personalities rather than policies. What about George Galloway? He is on the hard left of politics and campaigning for Britain to leave the EU but is ignored by the mainstream media.

      It is very dangerous for a person to let emotion override intellect when making a decision.

  5. Unfortunately what has happened is that both campaigns have been all about winning the votes, not about informing people what either vote would actually really mean. The remain campaign doesn’t address the current problems we have with the EU and how they will face these, and definitely not whether they can call for a change in the EU. The leave campaign has been racist in the least, in blaming immigrants like me for the schools to be full, the NHS crisis and not being able to get a GP appointment. They have drawn a very bad picture of Germany that their open doors to immigrants and refugees have put their economy in jeopardy. Scaremongering Brits of the unknown future of the EU. The EU might not survive, but it might get stronger. What neither campaigns have done is actually telling us what their campaign promises. What is going to happen to immigrant families? what is going to happen to people who own properties in Europe? Europeans who study here? As an employer I have had British employees and I can tell you that the immigrants the Leave campaign are so eager to stop coming in, work twice as hard.The immigrants are definitely not “taking” jobs from the British. I have worked closely with the Job Centre and the problem is generally with the attitude towards work from young British people. The only thing that I agree with Abdallah is that no one knows the future. What I do not like is that this article again is as biased as the leave campaign. It does not give the solutions, merely tells us the problems we currently have with the EU. Playing on the weak spots and ignoring the strong points we have staying in the EU. If you look at the benefits of staying in the EU, as an EU immigrant/ Expat, you will realise that is the only option. The world is becoming more globalised, hence smaller with more trade and opportunities all over the world. The worst thing you can do is isolating the country and become “little britain” while the world is becoming “greater and greater”. and using the ban on Niqab in the workplace (which is more than fair) and hijjab (is only in specific workplaces in France, because that would imply that all hijjabi sisters were unemployed in France: NOT TRUE) is again the same tactic used in both campaigns: feed their fear!!! there are enough tories/labour here that would like to see a ban on niqab/hijjab/halal… just because it is not the time publicly talk about it doesn’t mean it is on their agenda. I am not even going to start talking about parties like the UKIP because they have been allowed to enter politics just for the benefit of other parties: this is what you get if you do not vote for us. arrogant, ignorant people from a different level/class/world. If you really want to know how to vote do not read other people’s opinions, but look for the facts. that is your duty as a Muslim. and that is what i count on, i count on people with reason who will base their opinion on plain facts (what we gain from being in EU and what will be lose if we leave the EU). my future and my family’s future counts on it. and do not forget yours too, because on a lighter note if you go on holiday and the pound goes down, we all know how that feels 🙂

  6. Jazakumullahu Khair,

    I was going to vote remain as I thought Turkey might have a chance at making things better for us all, but they probably wouldn’t have been aloud in if they could, I don’t think the uk people are as racist as we are told to believe by the media.

    I do think the future will be better for us leaving people who are openly racist is Europe against Islam behind, I don’t think enough people will vote UKIP if we leave. The idea that economy will buckle isn’t so frightening as that is what happened in the credit crunch and that was while we were part of Europe, it’s very unlikely that we will stop functioning if we leave, everyone will try hard. For the common layman I think it would mean more money in the long run.

  7. GREAT ARTICLE WELL WRITTEN AND LOGICAL CONCLUSIONS IF WE ACCEPT BELIEF IN GOD IS NOT DELUSIONAL. THAT BEING SAID, AS AN EX PSYCHIATRIC NURSE, I LEARNT EARLY ON NOT TO ARGUE WITH DELUSIONS FROM WHATEVER SOURCE, AS IT IS A WASTE OF BREATH. MY WIFE WAS A SIKH, I WAS ANGLICAN ALTHOUGH I STOPPED BELIEVING IN GOD, IF I EVER HAD, THE SAME TIME AS I STOPPED BELIEVING IN FATHER XMAS AND THE TOOTH FAIRY.
    I RESPECT YOUR RIGHT TO BELIEVE WHAT YOU WANT AS LONG AS IT IS NOT FORCED ON OTHERS. UNFORTUNATELY CHILDREN ARE INDOCTRINATED WITHOUT CHOICE. AS A CONVERT YOUR FAITH IS HELD WITHOUT PRIOR INDOCTRINATION, FOLLOWING YEARS OF SERIOUS THOUGHT, AND I WOULD NOT DREAM OF TRYING TO CONTRADICT THAT.
    THE REASON I’M WRITING IS TO CORRECT ONE OR TWO THINGS.
    MANY MORE IMMIGRANTS COME FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD THAN FROM EUROPE, WHETHER OR NOT LEGALLY, AND ARE MOSTLY ALLOWED TO STAY TO HELP THE RICH GET RICHER AND LABOUR TO INCREASE ITS VOTER-BASE.
    I OBJECT TO THE TERM “ISLAMOPHOBIA”. IT’S A TERM OF ABUSE, AS A PHOBIA IS AN IRRATIONAL FEAR WITH NO SUBSTANCE, WHEREAS FEAR OF EXCESSIVE FOREIGN SETTLEMENT,ESPECIALLY OF PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT A RELIGION INCOMPATIBLE WITH DEMOCRACY, IS TOTALLY RATIONAL GIVEN THE UK EXPERIENCE OVER MOST OF OUR PRE-NORMAN HISTORY OF BEING INVADED AND CONQUERED BY HUGE NUMBERS OF FOREIGNERS, AND MANY ATTEMPS POST-NORMAN.
    THE HIJAB IS DEFINATELY A SYMBOL, A LOUD STATEMENT OF FAITH. WHY DENY IT? MY WIFE’S FAMILY, SIKHS, WEAR HEADSCARVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, BUT UNLIKE ISLAM, WHICH HAS CONQUERED HUGE AREAS OF THE WORLD, OFTEN VIOLENTLY, THE SIKHS ARE AS A RELIGION PEACEFUL NOW.
    I HOPE YOU SUPPORT THE DEMOCRISATION ATTEMPTS TAKING PART IN THE MUSLIM WORLD, NONE OF WHICH IS DEMOCRATIC. I DO.
    cheerio from John Simpson

  8. I will be voting to remain. No one knows what is better for Muslims in the long run – of course it could be that remaining or indeed leaving bring similar outcomes for Muslims. BUT if there is a brexit it will provide a clear change in the momentum of British politics – it will be a victory for racism and xenophobia since the main proponents for leaving are nasty, malicious racists. To remain will let racists know that their views are still unpopular. It will be a blow to them. This article is no better than any other opinion piece; in fact it may be worse since it’s not a balanced argument, it’s merely propaganda to leave. GUT feeling tells you this article is very wrong – how can it be a good idea to vote for something that the most vocal enemies of Islam are craving – indeed killing – to bring about. Is it not enough that UKIP and racist organisations are itching for Britain to leave to they can try to ‘reclaim Britain’ from all the disgusting brown people. Please don’t be gullible to Thompson’s propaganda.

    • Abdullah Thomson

      If 49% of the population vote leave and are denied it, that’s 49% of the population that might vote UKIP at the next general election. Just look at benefits to the SNP that the Scottish referendum loss brought. If the vote is to leave then UKIP will not necessarily benefit, quite likely their support will dwindle.

      Ironically the far right groups in other EU countries offer support to the smaller groups here. Did you notice Tommy Robinson being invited to speak at PEGIDA rallies? Don’t be fooled into thinking he leads them, rather that was him being introduced to them, to show they have brethren in the UK. The racists who want out would actually be stronger to remain in the EU but thankfully they are too stupid to know it.

      • I have tried to hammer the point across with MEND that if Britain votes to remain in the EU by a small margin then it will trigger a UKIP landslide at the next general election just like the SNP landslide in Scotland at the last general election. A 45% leave vote could equal a UKIP government or a hung parliament with UKIP as the largest party. How will MEND handle this one considering that they treat members of UKIP as personas non grata?

        Voting for Britain to leave the EU will scupper UKIP at the next general election because their core issues of the EU and mass immigration from EU countries will be redundant.

    • Suhai All Belushi

      I disagree with you brother. Brexit is better for Muslims and when next election happens trust me the bremain team will vote in full power to kick racist groups such as BNP, UKIP out . That’s the time we should all vote for a decent labour or conservative

    • “Thompson Propoganda” SubhanAllah brother Moosa, I advise you to be more careful with your language. I think that brother Abdullah is well meaning and there is no ulterior motive to his article. He’s just giving us his opinion.

      • salam sister Saadia, i can assure you i didn’t mean any disrespect to Br Abdullah. I’m definitely not questioning his motives and i believe he wants the best for Muslims in the country. Propaganda here just means the specific principles and doctrines of Br A. Thompson and the Brexit camp. It’s not being used as a loaded term. Nonetheless, i disagree with him (strongly) and i urge you read the counter article and vote ‘remain’.

  9. I found this article informative and most importantly, relevant and non-ambiguous.
    JazakAllahKhair for taking the time.

  10. Suhai All Belushi

    Jezak Allah her brother. I have made my mind long time ago. Yes, Brecht is the best option for Muslims. One of the main reason also you did not mention is, we all know there is a high chance and almost a definite that UK brexit vote will be higher than bremain and if we Muslim do not show our support in this move and our solidarity towards UK then trust me, we will be battered from left and right for not showing little bit of britishness (according to them).
    I have been campaigning Muslim united in brexit in YouTube for a while.
    Brother your article really makes sense and I hope muslims will make up their kind wisely.

  11. There’s such an overload of opinion pieces from non experts and spin masters.

    I have not found anything better than this video, with a solid explanation of our position as a country, FROM AN EXPERT IN THIS AREA.

    The buck stops with the economy.

    If the UK economy spirals downwards you’ll have an increase in xenophobia

    If by and large most people have economic stability- they are less likely to resent others.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=USTypBKEd8Y

    • Abdullah Thomson

      I agree if our economy tanks xenophobia likely would rise. However this country has a habit of keeping its head above others. I think the bigger worry is an economic crash across the EU while still tied to them and our borders are open. Remember how glad we were to be out of the Euro in 2008. The EU countries, maybe apart from Germany, are all suffering financially and have a sudden influx of migrants and refugees to cope with. Looks like the worry you have for the UK is happening there first so in a previous article I wondered if a brexit would save us from that brewing storm? http://www.islam21c.com/politics/would-a-brexit-shield-us-from-the-storm/ as i said there is no safe option only trying to figure out which is safest. And without knowing the future its an educated guess at most. German politicians have been hoping for cheap labour for over a decade and now has a million workfare refugees but will their people see it like that? Seems like they don’t need a recession to express their xenophobia.

      Regarding the video, i saw it and a couple of things stood out to make me skeptical that its as black and white as he makes out.

      On sovereignty he says we can ignore EU laws if we want to, strangely no one on the Remain side mentions that in debates and sure enough its not true, we ARE bound by EU wide laws http://europa.eu/eu-law/decision-making/legal-acts/index_en.htm but not directives.

      On the issue of negotiating trade deals he can only relate to how things have been while we are in the EU. He says this is 1st year undergraduate basic stuff but again it hardly gets a mention by the Remain camp in debates. Why would that be when it sounds like such a compelling argument? Its been 40 years since we could negotiate them independently, all of his working life and more, so it must be impossible for him to say with certainty how it would go but neccesity is the mother of invention, lets be hopefull that we’ll manage. As we import more than we export it will be in the interest of those exporter nations to come to agreements with us. The time taken to leave the EU would have to be decided yet and could take that into account.

      He made a big deal of manufacturer standards as though any goods from a manufacturer within the UK is automatically able to be sold across the EU and that leaving the EU would somehow make it harder for manufacturers. In fact UK manufacturers already need to work to strict (some say onerous) CE standards to be able to sell their goods anywhere in Europe including in the UK https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ce-marking and could just as easily continue to after a Brexit so whats the difference? Do China have trouble selling goods within the EU? In this globalised world manufacturers are used to working to quality standards. Manufacturers have been working to the BSI kitemark for over 100 years, then CE, then probably there will be global standards yet to be defined.

      At that point i started thinking here’s someone not quite laying out all the facts.

      One thing i expect is the establishment who are the political backbone of this country whether we like it or not will have to get off their backsides and work a little harder. I do not expect they will let the UK just roll up and die rather it would add some vibrancy to the UK to be back to dealing globally rather than relying on the EU to negotiate things for us.

  12. Abdullah Thomson

    Anyone who has read the MEND article advising Muslims to vote remain might have spotted a point that contradicts my article. Their claim that the Equalities Act 2010 came from a EU directive is extremely misleading. In fact the act merely brought together existing UK legislation and harmonized it with EU legislation.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/notes/division/2?view=plain

    I see no reason to think that the EU are going to come up with legislation that particularly favours Muslims, rather the opposite, but anyway waiting for the EU to enforce favourable legislation onto the UK government is like a beggar waiting for random handouts. Why would anyone think that it is preferable to the law-making being closer to home where we can more easily campaign for changes to the existing legislation without all the other EU states getting in the way of change and slowing down the process.

  13. Excellent and convincing article.

    The author has approached the question of whether Muslims should vote for Britain to remain in or leave the EU from a fresh perspective by focusing on issues of relevance to Muslims that are rarely touched on by articles written by non-Muslims.

    Several individual Muslims and Muslim organisations (such as MEND and the MAB) have already published articles and videos advising Muslims to vote for Britain to remain in the EU. The authors of these articles appear to have a poor knowledge and understanding of the EU as they are often shallow; insubstantial; containing glaring mistakes – especially about the ECHR being run by the EU; based on information primarily obtained from the mainstream media; or influenced by personalities in the Brexit camp which they dislike.

    The remain in the EU camp regularly fails to acknowledge that several eastern European countries, and Greece, are so xenophobic, racist, and anti-Islamic that they are unpleasant and inhospitable places for Muslims to live in. Therefore is it really sensible from the perspective of a Muslim for Britain to enter into a political alliance with such hostile and anti-Islamic nations, or would the future be safer with alliances in the Commonwealth and Muslim majority countries instead? Islam is not even recognised as a religion in some EU countries – including Italy and Hungary.

    EU free movement of people legislation is already undermining social cohesion in towns and cities in Britain. Large scale uncontrolled immigration from eastern Europe since 2004 has resulted in tensions and animosity between settled Muslims and recently arrived eastern European immigrants in several local communities. Eastern Europeans have cultures and lifestyles very different from those of Muslims and do not integrate well with the existing Muslim communities. Several Muslims have decided to vote for Britain to leave the EU because they are worried that if tensions continue to rise between Muslims and eastern Europeans in local communities then it could erupt in violence and aggression with Muslims taking most of the blame by the government and the media rather than the eastern Europeans.

  14. Disagree with the stance. In fact the author fails to reflect on the opportunity for muslims to conmect as a bigger bloc with other muslims in France, Germany and other EU Countries.

    With networking and political unity Muslims can have a strong voice rather than a small bloc in each individual country. Hence, it is actually in the spirit of Islam to unite/be able to unite with our ummah in the EU.

    I fear the little Britian argument has simply been translated into the muslim version – the vision insular rather than looking to reaching out to muslims who may be isolated.

    • Abdullah Thomson

      Is that based on reality or fantasy? What help did our inclusion in the EU have when they banned niqabs, hijabs, halal slaughter etc? When the French closed down 100s of mosques? Lets be realistic. We have work to do to survive in the UK. We have barely any influence in politics here, none on the EU stage.

      • “We have work to do to survive in the UK. We have barely any influence in politics here, none on the EU stage.”

        The EU is a distant, remote, unfamiliar, mysterious, and poorly understood political institution in the minds of all but a tiny handful of Muslims in Britain.

        No prominent Muslim organisation has made any serious attempt to formulate a strategy plan for Muslims to play a more active role in policy making at EU level. All they have done is tried to persuade Muslims to vote for an existing secular political party at the Euro elections every five years. An election that only a small minority (estimated 15%) of Muslims bothers to vote in because the majority of them either do not understand what they are voting for or how the EU is relevant to their everyday lives. Therefore, if a Muslim does not vote in the Euro elections then it makes no sense for them to vote for Britain to remain in the EU in the referendum.

        One compelling argument that many people who are voting for Britain to remain in the EU use is “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know” because of uncertainty if Britain were to leave the EU. For Muslims the British government is the devil we know and the EU is the devil we don’t know.

  15. If u vote out u will give away ur human rights. Like maximum working hours, sick pay, maternity leave. Etc. With no one looking over the future gov, they will crosify people’s right. Especially boris. He want this badly. He want to be the next PM. I think the reason David Cameron doesn’t want to leave is because he himself don’t trust the torys. He knw his kids future will be at stake
    N abt immigration. The gov will bring in work from outside. Regardless of being in or out
    They need works to run nhs and public sector
    So leaving wouldn’t make a difference.
    The Britain first group will always find something to hate. They aren’t going away even if they don’t have any reason to stay.
    Abt the money given to EU. Breakdown on where the money is spent, are the things that r important n should have organisation looking over.
    Leaving will really take us backwards.
    N if GB leaves they will be made n example off. So recession again most probabilly

  16. Very naively written article that doesn’t seem to understand how the EU works. Firstly the ECHR may be independent of the away but the ECJ is not and that is what upholds many of the social rights we enjoy in the UK. Also the EU presidency rotates by country, so the fact that a racist country presides one year is neither here nor there. Secondly most of the article is spent only trying to make out Brexit wouldn’t be as bad as we think, which is a) pure speculation, and b) doesn’t make Brexit preferable without addressing the alternative with correct understanding. Thirdly, the wider economic issues are not dealt with. It’s quite narrow minded des to think Muslims only care about hijab laws. Much more than that affects us and comes into our consideration and it is patronising at best and selfish at worst to imply otherwise.

    Honestly I think this site is irresponsible to publish such an article without a balanced alternate view, as it may influence Muslims who don’t understand the issues themselves to vote out merely because they saw a Muslim site calling for it.

    • Abdullah Thomson

      You’re presupposing that the EU council/court is some abstract entity of uber righteous people, a bastion of rights that saved the UK people from every injustice our home grown law makers would have inflicted on us. Actually they are just representatives of people from other EU countries, countries whose populations are turning ever more Islamophobic, where demands for laws to force assimilation of the sudden influx of Muslim immigrants points to a likelihood of gradual deterioration of our rights coming from the representatives of those countries.

      The fact is you cannot tell what progress the UK legislation would have made if the law making was done here over the last 40 years instead of in Brussels. I suspect that most of what the EU legislates would have by now been brought into law in the UK anyway if we had been independent. I see no evidence that the other EU states are more righteous than the UK.

      I made it clear that other issues exist but everything around them is open to speculation or there would be no arguments just facts. I choose to prioritize the Muslim’s ability to practice our religion as the reason to decide the issue. Pick what is important to you and decide on that.

    • Abdullah Thomson

      You say it doesn’t matter that the EU presidency rotates and allows the leaders of racist countries to have a turn. I say that being legally tied to racist countries is in itself a bad thing, highlighted by their rotating leadership.

      If we had a chance to change the attitudes of those other countries it might be worth staying but time and again UK leaders have shown that they have no ability to change anything in the EU government by themselves let alone the attitudes of the people of other nations. To get anything changed they need agreement of the other leaders. At present and due to the sudden immigration of Muslims, which is a bigger problem to them than we realize here, the agreement of EU leaders is that Islam is the problem that needs to be tamed. To think we need to stick close to those countries to protect Islam is incredibly misguided.

  17. aisha siddiqui

    JazaKAllah kher

  18. I was for Remaining but this article offers food for thought and demonstrates that there is so much more to consider. However my concern is that leaving means we will not have a say at all in what happens in The EU and simply considering Britain alone will not resolve the issues we face worldwide. Aren’t we better off trying to reform from within? Do we risk leaving our brothers and sisters in other European countries to suffer the consequences of detrimental bans? There’s just too much uncertainty…either way.

  19. A few glaring issues with this article in my view:

    1. The xenophobes would run Britain if Brexit win. Boris would become PM and Gove home secretary. Read Gove’s book! He is a neocon nut job that loathes islam. The UKIP wing of the Conservative party would be in power.

    2. You keep asserting the EU is making anti Muslim law. That is plainly wrong. The source of bad legislation is always a national government NOT the European parliament. The EU is currently failing to protect Muslims whose home nations have enacted anti Muslim legislation. Whilst the EU should have overturned some of the islamophobic national laws under right to practice ones religion we shouldn’t confuse what is actually happening. In other words it failed to strike down the bad law, it wasn’t the architect of it.

    3. I’m not sure why you think that a national government is easier to influence. When it does something bad against Muslims and is able to manipulate its home population through its influence over media propaganda why do you presume we stand a greater chance of receiving justice and bringing change? Rather ab external regulator that is less influenced by this is more likely to bring justice.

    4. It is nigh impossible for the UK to leave the ECHR and remain in the EU as this is a required element of its membership. If we leave the EU we are much more likely to leave the ECHR and have a British bill of rights that would allow removal of citizenship and make someone stateless and would probably permit deportation to places that condone torture. As we know UK politicians were complaining about not having such rights and blamed human rights legislation for it. They would love to dilute our human rights if they could! That is not speculation. Right wing politicians keep complaining that human rights legislation keeps thwarting their efforts.

    Overall the article makes some interesting points but I would argue on balance remaining in the EU is the lesser of 2 evils.

    • Oh I should add one other point which is that coming out of the EU will not change the level of EU immigration since a condition of participating within the free market will require freedom of movement. Therefore voting out of the EU will not change the level of European immigration in the slightest.

      • Abdullah Thomson

        No you’re wrong about that. Leaving EU means leaving the EU free market, including freedom of movement of goods and people. It will mean renegotiations are required. We import much from the EU area so there will be plenty of enthusiasm for a trade deal.

    • Abdullah Thomson

      In answer to your points

      1: This is a vote for a long term change. Politicians come and go. I’ve not voting to stay with the EU consisting of a more racist and Islamophobic people (in my opinion) out of fear for a couple of UK politicians who are in no way guaranteed to be king.

      2: On the one hand you seem to agree with me that EU membership has done nothing to protect people in EU countries from their own government’s anti-Islam laws. But you fail to realise that the EU parliament and council (who make many of our laws) are peopled by humans from those countries. It seems a logical conclusion that the Islamophobia of the people is reflected in the politicians of those EU countries who legislate against Islam and logical that it will be reflected in the decision making of any body which is peopled by them, such as the EU council and Court.

      3: Again your ignorance of what is happening in Europe shines through. Do you think the EU legislators live in a bubble of idealism? They are not “external” or unbiased.

      Of course it is theoretically easier to influence law making in our own nation rather than in a EU council where the UK public has only a 8% weighting in a vote. If the rest of the EU representatives were agreed on an anti-islam policy no matter if every Briton was a Muslim the weighting is such that we could not stop the law. Still in the UK there is much bias against Islam but it’s not as chronic as in the rest of Europe (especially eastern Europe) and we don’t have the looming issue of a sudden mass immigration of Muslim refugees which is causing a huge amount of Islamophobia there.

      4: Individual politicians can demand this and that but that’s a far cry from a likelihood something will become law. The UK were the main architects of the ECHR after the second world war and over the centuries have usually led Europe in human rights legislation so i’m not that concerned that the British Bill of Rights would be an English translation of Mein Kampf, it would most likely be quite similar to the ECHR.

      • 1. Of course one cannot gurantee Boris and Gove but they are odds on favourites. You seem to ignore this very relevant fact.
        2. It has protected Muslims but not as much as it should.
        3. its not about changing EU law. Please tell me of some anti muslim EU laws that worry you? Now think about anti muslim french laws? The EU stands as an arbiter over french law if the French politicise their legal system. At least it should but as the case with the niqab shows it can fall short. Never the less the source of the anti muslim law was the nation state. Not the EU.
        4. You should be worried that a British bill of rights would water down civil liberties. That is quite clear from those that are proposing this measure that this is what they intend.
        Thank you for engaging and responding to your readers.

      • Internchange Labosa

        Funny how months later Britain turned into this place where right wing populism has risen and yet you are continously promoting your anti Eu propaganda. We were created to learm from each other is the spirit of Islam yet you to have been influenced by the populist; fake news area. By continuing to promote that Europe is the problem. Let La Penn win and you might see a potential shift to the right across the Western World. When you wrote this you did not anticipate the attacks against the Muslim after the brexit vote you still seem to ignore. Or the fact that the Uk is the most right wing media society

        • “Or the fact that the Uk is the most right wing media society”

          Sorry what is a “media society” are you talking about the press or the society? Actually I know the poll you are talking about https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/02/07/british-press-most-right-wing-europe/

          The UK public calls the press here right wing more than the public in EU countries, we could assume the press is roughly similar across the EU and then that poll shows the people in the UK are the most anti-right wing in the EU. Which is what i believe. Without objectively comparing the media first the poll is actually meaningless.

          Regarding Brexit you are making a typical mistake thinking that there was a third option of pretending none of this happened, going back to a time before anyone raised the idea of brexit or used xenophobia to promote it.

          You have to consider the reality that the choice was either brexit which gave a short jump in racist attacks by idiots who were largely shouted down even by people who were pro-brexit but were later feeling sheepish for the racist rhetoric around the debate. Or a brexit no vote which would have resulted in a continuation of the racist rhetoric by people hoping for a second ref same as Scotland now. The big rise in populism in the EU is not seen in the UK. UKIP vote shares in by-elections are falling, the party has lost most of its funding sources now the job is done.

          Of the 2 outcomes that were actually possible i still believe brexit was best for Muslims long term. However we need a good economy or we will get the racist rhetoric that goes with economic hard times. On that score I think the government is making all the right moves, May is holding her nerve impressively and the quick confident exit before EU can work out how to do without us is the best way to get a good deal.

          Despite the stupid harassing of Muslims and promoting Islamophobia in the name security the government is still doing we need to hope they succeed on other fronts. Then once the country is on a stable footing start working on social justice issues as opposed to big business having it all their way.

  20. Excellent article. Brexit for Muslims seems to be the better option. Jazaakallah khair for such a good article with a well balanced argument.

  21. This was a very good article

  22. Points system- this is an amazing statement, Australia has a points system, still seen as one of the most racist places on the planet. We have the highest number of NEATS in the EU, the majority of entrants add to this society and fix the issues of the NEATS. We lack skills in a number of areas- in my field where I am the only CTO – C level of a multinational corp from a Muslim background we lack these skills the universities are not in tune with demand- pray explain how you intend to resolve this gap( NEATS and a lack of supply), the economy is fragile we export 50% to EU member states. Where do you believe we can sell this 50% if the EU market is closed or tariffed to our exports. The economics, which is normally a science has certain financial instruments which are extrapolated to forecast trends – as with weather forecasting, so we forecasts economics trends based on certain parameters. If these parameters: gdp, employment, interest rates, inflation, imports/exports etc are tilted one way or the other we have prosperity or recession. If we get recession then people like me seen as ” outsiders” will bear the brunt- others can slip into the shadows and no one will ever know. You seem to be asking the wrong questions or to the wrong people. If you have a tooth ache you visits a dentist, not a shoemaker, thus on economics speak to an economist- economics is a science not art

    • Abdullah Thomson

      UK and Australia are hardly comperable for a raft of reasons. Too many to go into here. But yes there is severe racism there by most accounts. I didn’t claim a points system would cure racists. I said its not inherently xenophobic to want controls and it will refuduce the available rhetoric racists use to recruit others to their causes.

      So now we have abundant 20 somethings or older with some experience in the job (building trades for example) coming from EU. You don’t think that might effect the willingness of employers to take on school leavers and offer apprenticeships which could have created this NEETS problem? (I’m assuming a typo in your comment) Frankly its an absolutely obvious repercussion of the EU immigration. Now our kids are lucky to get a job packing boxes.

      I said we will still need a steady stream of skilled immigrant labour. But immigrant oversupply of all levels not based on demand makes it politically harder for us to recruit needed skills from outside EU, even politically harder to invite well paying foreign students.

      Interesting that you are happy that we are only able to export the same amount to the other continents combined that we can to Europe. When those other continents are growing and Europe shrinking doesn’t that figure strike you as proof of the difficulties the EU creates for UKs global export reach?

      One thing i agree with you on though. Economic forecasts are usually as accurate as weather forecasts. Thats why i say i’m making my decision based on the rapidly increasing EU islamophobia and their ability to legislate against Islam in the UK.

  23. Interesting article, ” thought through,” I findings extremely offensive- I can assure you I have thought through this and have decided that remain makes more sense and I find having a single outside view with better ties to the U.S. – welcome to a beautiful war.

    • Abdullah Thomson

      I don’t think you’ve thought this through before deciding to be extremely offended. I said the individual arguments that i mentioned were not thought through. Such as thinking voting Brexit is like electing Paul Golding as prime minister. Just no correlation, if anything its the opposite.

  24. Finally a sound article helping me to finally make up my mind

  25. Muhammad Umar Chand

    Very well thought out piece with historical evidence: I am far away from Britain and EU, so not much to lose or gain personally whatever way they vote, but I would add one non-academic layman’s observation: the way politicians blackmail and manipulate wars around the world as stooges of America will diminish a little if not altogether, if the British exits EU– which might be better for everyone in the world. Just a thought! But Abdullah Thomson’s arguments stand out more convincingly, and need to be considered on their own merit.

  26. A well written article. thoroughly enjoyed and fully relevant and engaging. Has convinced me to change my mind.
    Jzk

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