MUSLIMS Dis-united

 By Moh Bloggs- Since the failed terrorist attacks earlier this month the Muslim community has once again come under the most intense scrutiny.There is no surprise that any reputable Muslim organisation or individual has sought to condemn these actions, which have ranged from such diverse groups as MPAC, the MCB, the BMF and Hizb ut-Tahrir. There has even been public shows of condemnations in the forms of anti-terror rallies and mini conferences to deal with the issues facing the Islamic community in Britain today.

In spite of these condemnations, the role of Muslims in Britain and in particular their supposed role in these acts of terrorism continue to be a prominent point of discussion in the media and other circles. The media has been awash of Muslims groups coming under attack from an array of ex-jihadists, who are very much flavour of the month. Even mainstream organisations such as the MCB have been openly attacked on their role, first from the likes of Hasan Butt and then from the likes of MPAC.

In light of such intense debate, Muslims are being actively encouraged to turn on one another. Take the following quote for example:

If anyone has any idea that they will find some sanctuary or a place to hide after such activities then he has it absolutely wrong, they will be hunted out“.

Notwithstanding the admirable sentiments of that quote, that it was said by Dr Mohammed Akbah Ali, chairman of the Liverpool Mosque and Islamic Institute is equally troubling. It was spoken at a press conference held in the next street to where a house was raided in connection to the subsequent arrests that were made.

The fact that this had been said whislt those in question have yet to be charged speaks volumes about the inability of community leaders to address the issues at hand. He could have waited until legal proceedings had reached the appropriate stage which merited such a quote. If he felt that they could not as a community wait, then he could have tempered his statement by not only reminding the world at large of Islam’s position on such events but also the wider society’s responsibilties (and so-called British values) including the rights to a fair trial and the presumption that an individual is innocent until proven guilty.

Furthermore, the rhetoric he uses, so similar of that in the aftermath of 7/7 about how extremism has no place in community or the wider society at large, is now almost past its sell by date. What he fails to mention is how this will be achieved? We are no more closer to that answer than we were two years ago. What is more worrying is that these so-called leaders continue to play the ostrich and bury their heads in the sand hoping the problem will just go away. There seems to be no idea of how to conceptually mould the Muslim generation that follows us. There seems no idea how we instill them values of how to steadfastly hold onto their beliefs whislt at the same time adhere to the legal framework of the society they live in. There seems no idea of how to meet the arguments and obstaces these Muslims face in their reasoning or grappling of faith and how it can comfortably sit within the life they lead. If mosques and those elders that purport to be custodians cannot actually come out with viable soultions then they will only have served to damage those they seek to protect!

Then that are such initiaves as Muslims United that seems to fall into the same old trap of paying lip service to such incidents. We have been here before. We have seen such statements prior to 7/7 and after.

Muslims United lists several well known organisations joining the bandwagon. Nonetheless, their grandiose claims that they represent everyday Muslims – the Muslim common man – doesn’t really hold up to the litmus test. This half-hearted gesture does nothing but show the community for what it is, disunited and unable to respond to the issues at hand. If the organisers wanted to show a united front in trying to aboslve the community from blame then they should have got more just a plethora of organisations that most mainstream Muslims will have trouble recognising or identifying with.

AND THEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM!

For no matter who the oragnisation is or the amount of organisations there are, the Muslim community that matters still feels that they are unable to identify with them. A recent poll conducted by Populus found only 7% of British muslims felt that the Muslim Council of Britain – perhaps the most well know of the main stream groups – represented their views. The second biggest response with 25% was “Don’t know” and the first – with a gigantic 52% – was “None”.Yet, this has always been the case, Muslim have continaully suggested that they fail to identify with these groups, with a number of polls suggesting so. (You can see a snippet of British Muslim’s opinions here or here). Even within the aftermath of 7/7, polls were suggesting that “the Muslim community in Britain lacks a single, unifying voice at both an institutional and an individual level.” It is only a matter of a year ago when the same questions were levelled in a Channel Four documentary.

The Government itself has muddied the waters by actively courting a number of such groups in a bid to liase with the Muslim community at large. Their links with the MCB have been often well known to many:

The MCB was officially founded in November 1997, shortly after Tony Blair came to power, and has had a close relationship with the Labour government ever since … It remains particularly influential within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which has a little-known outreach department which works with Britain’s Muslims. The FCO pamphlet Muslims in Britain is essentially an MCB publication and the official ministerial celebration of the Muslim festival of Eid is organised jointly with the MCB.”

The ineffectivemenss of the MCB has lead the British government to entertain other groups in a bid to have a genuine influence over the Muslim majoirty, even going as far as pushing the Sufi Muslim Council and Haras Rafiq into the mainstream.

Is it hardly surprising then with such a number of groups and with such influence as the the unofficial backing of the British Government and the inability to present a consensus view is leaving the majority of Muslims confused and floundering! Unfortuantely, we are own worst enemies, for we actively indulge in the divide and conquer tactics that seek to segregate people from each other and which only ever serve the interests of the State and never the best interests of the people!SOURCE: Moh Bloggs

 

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