‘If you don’t like it here… go back home’

17 02 2008

I really hate it when I get into discussion with certain people about what being a Muslim means to me… the discussion often concludes with one sentence, and more than often since Dr Rowan William’s comments. ‘If you don’t like it here, go back HOME.’ Go back home, where? I don’t have a ‘back home’. I find this kind of response annoying more than offensive because of ignorance and narrow mindedness involved, and that coming from people depicted as the most progressive and civilised people on earth. I am not shy to discuss what I believe in, and I dont’t have a problem presenting it to people as an alternative way of life, why can’t people do the same? I don’t know.

If we were to explore the idea of going back home, which unlike me, most immigrant Muslims living in the West can do so…would it solve anyones problem? Well, not really. Most Muslim countries which have abundance of resources are run by tyrant despotic rulers installed and supported by the West working to secure those resources for the West. Regimes changes only occur when the Western interests are at risk of being fulfilled, one dictator is simply replaced by another and sometimes at the cost of thousand of innocent lives such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most problems of the Muslim world, however complex, can sometimes be narrowed down to the presence of these idiot rulers and their puppet regimes working against Islam and Muslims in cahoots with the Western rulers. And when any neo Islamic party termed ‘Islamist’ comes close to power even through fair electoral process, who feels the first itch? Sometimes it seems almost impossible for Muslim world to free itself from the shackles of Imperialism/colonialism and the constant interference from the West to be able to decide its own political destiny.  So what are they suppose to do? Perhaps, it would sound reasonable to send people back home if they were going to bring back their own troops, stop interfering in their lands and allow them to live however they wish to. But that I don’t see happening, not when this hypocritical theory of ‘one law for all’ will soon be applicable to the world.

Regardless of all that, the ‘if you don’t like it here, go back home’ attitude clearly highlights the strength of ideas people hold and their views towards minorities. Muslims are accused of being emotional, ready to explode the minute their faith is questioned, but didn’t those accusers explode with emotions of anger at the speech made by Dr Rowan Williams? Is it understandable for people to react in such way? Isn’t it clear that it is not only some Muslims, but narrow-mindedness, ignorance, intolerance very much prevails in the West too?

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Breakup of the Middle-East

2 02 2008

The breakup of the Middle-East and most of the Muslim world is the most talked about subject these days. I found this articles at the Atlantic.com which discusses Iraq and the future map of what is known as the Muslim world.

A report from the new Middle East—and a glimpse of its possible future

by Jeffrey Goldberg

After Iraq
Not long ago, in a decrepit prison in Iraqi Kurdistan, a senior interrogator with the Kurdish intelligence service decided, for my entertainment and edification, to introduce me to an al-Qaeda terrorist named Omar. “This one is crazy,” the interrogator said. “Don’t get close, or he’ll bite you.”

Omar was a Sunni Arab from a village outside Mosul; he was a short and weedy man, roughly 30 years old, who radiated a pure animal anger. He was also a relentless jabberer; he did not shut up from the moment we were introduced. I met him in an unventilated interrogation room that smelled of bleach and paint. He was handcuffed, and he cursed steadily, making appalling accusations about the sexual practices of the interrogator’s mother. He cursed the Kurds, in general, as pig-eaters, blasphemers, and American lackeys. As Omar ranted, the interrogator smiled. “I told you the Arabs don’t like the Kurds,” he said. I’ve known the interrogator for a while, and this is his perpetual theme: close proximity to Arabs has sabotaged Kurdish happiness.

Read the rest





Stop and Search laws

1 02 2008

New Powers for police to stop and search

Plans to extend police powers to stop and search people with minimal bureaucracy are to be announced by Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, next week.

Smith will allow police forces to designate hotspot zones within their areas where officers would be able to carry out searches, backed up only by a brief voice-recording of explanation.

The plans were taken to cabinet yesterday after she received the final report from a review of policing by Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the chief inspector of constabulary. Source

Yesterday, I saw more than a dozen police officers at a very small overground station in what may qualify as central London. They were simply carrying out their job by randomly stopping people. While I swiped the oyster, crossing the barriers I saw several people of various backgrounds being searched and questioned including a smartly dressed elderly man. The first thing which came to my mind was Police state, a tiny station with over a dozen police officers, some with dogs stopping random people including senior members of community..what would you think?

Personally, I have no problem with stop and search. I don’t carry around things I shouldn’t have and something needs to be done about the growing knife crime in the UK. If a shooting or stabbing takes place I would hope everyone in the area would be liable to be stopped and searched to send out a strong message to the criminals. Although, I do sympathies with those who are against ID cards, stops and searches etc, but what are the alternatives? Besides, stop and search happens anyway, I have been stopped and searched for no reason whatsoever under section 44 of the terrorism act, so these really make no difference to me.

However, I would also like to see the Met Police reassure ethnic minorities that they have rid the police force of the racist ideology and officers willing to abuse their powers with impunity, then there shouldn’t be any concerns. I know the feeling, which I am afraid most people will not understand unless you have been stopped, abused and have had insults hurled at you while you were going about your daily routine. Perhaps, there needs to be a mechanism of stop and search within the Met Police to churn out ignorance or implement plans to educate the police staff on religious/cultural sensitivities, basic manners and some level of public relation skills, before they begin to stop and search criminals as well as the law abiding citizens.





Gaza – Fence that fell…

31 01 2008

You don’t feel safe anywhere in the Gaza Strip. It’s dangerous everywhere; Israeli helicopters and F-16s overhead all the time.

The hardest thing is going in the streets of Gaza to find body parts scattered everywhere. So many people have been killed here over the past few days.

We are living under occupation. I’ve been applying to Israel to go to the West Bank – which is part of my country – and I’m not allowed.

MOHAMMED OMER, 23, RAFAH, GAZA STRIP

The Kaa’ba (Qibla) has an over whelming spiritual aspect attached to it, for a Muslim, there is no place more sacred than the holy lands situated in Arabia. Every year millions of Muslims gather and circumambulate (tawaaf) around the holy Kaa’ba or Qibla during the month of Dhul Hijjah and all year around for the ‘Umrah. The Muslims turn towards the same marvelous Qiblah five times a day when performing their daily salah, decorating their living rooms and places of trade with pictures of it, on walls, in miniature design, on calenders, on prayer mats, and the whole of Muslim cola market has thrived upon its name.

But what does the marvelous Ka’ba, its spiritual or historical significance have anything to do with the giant concentration camp which Gaza has been turned into? Consider this:

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is quoted to have said, when beholding Ka`ba: “How sanctified you are to Allah, however, the blood of a Muslim is more sanctified to Allah than thee!”

The noble Ka’ba symbolises a deep rooted concept, a concept far beyond the psychological and emotional spiritual aspect we long to feel in its presence. Despite the unceasing dictum, most Muslims including myself have not been able to truly conceptualise what the bond of unity based upon a common view of life (Islam) means. I attempted at experiencing this unity and being over whelmed by it rather than the spiritual aspect which comes from being around the ka’ba. ‘It is only made of stones, you will circumumbulate this one and throw stones at the other ones in Jamaraat’, I said to myself during hajj. The spiritual aspect which comes from witnessing thousands of people of different colour, race, height, size… gave me the ‘buzz’, the same kind of buzz experienced by the dancing dervishes which they interpret to be spiritual elevation, though there is no similarity between the two. But the persistent question remains: Is Muslim unity a fanciful concept? an emotional weak bond? or something real and perceivable?

An-Nu`maan Ibn Basheer, may Allah be pleased with him, quotes the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him as saying: “You see the believers as regards their being merciful among themselves and showing love among themselves and being kind to themselves, resembling one body, so that, if any part of the body aches then the whole body shares the pain with sleeplessness (insomnia) and fever.” (Reported by Al-Bukhari)

This body as described by the Prophet of Islam (saw) exists today as we witness the Muslims stand in solidarity across the Muslim world with their brethren in Gaza. Despite the brutal clampdown by the despotic Egyption regime, the Muslims gathered at the Tahrir Sq chanting, “Gaza residents, we are with you night and day”. Muslims also gathered in Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Mauritania to call their rulers to aid the Muslims of Gaza and to end their links with the Zionist State.

GAZA (CNN) — There is something almost indescribably exhilarating about suddenly evaporating borders, an almost palpable electricity that pulses through the air.
It was breathtaking to watch as tens of thousands of people poured over what once was a towering Israeli-built iron wall, a seemingly insurmountable barrier between Gaza and the world, now a walkway through which Palestinians strolled into Egypt.

In the days of the Ottoman Empire, there were no borders and no walls across much of what is now the Middle East. You could travel from Baghdad to Jerusalem to Cairo to Tunis without a question asked. Then came the era of the nation state, when Arabs became Egyptian or Iraqi or Tunisian.

But the depth of desire for unity, for freedom of movement in the Arab world remains profound. And you only need cross a border in this region to understand why.  Source

Contemplating upon some of these realities makes me wonder that ‘artificial borders disuniting the Muslims’ theory may not be so far-fetched after all. The moment of unity shared by the two nations separated by an artificial border which once never existed, however brief, it looks incredible. The CNN video shows the barrier being physically removed liberating and uniting the people… imagine if this was to occur throughout the Muslim world.





Gillian Gibbons and Samina Malik

26 11 2007

Gillian Gibbons, a British school teacher working in Sudan was arrested yesterday for naming a teddy bear. It is reported that she allowed 6 year olds at the expensive English school to name the bear after Prophet Mohammed (saw). According to the Sudanese law a non-Muslim could face a maximum penalty of lashes, prison, a fine and deportation if found guilty of Blasphemy. (More on this at the bbc)

To some this may just be an innocent mistake, a mistake made by a 54 year old school teacher. But can she be excused for ignorance? I believe, anyone taking up a teaching profession or else in an hostile region like Sudan must at least make some effort to understand the sensitivities of the people. This level of ignorance can conveniently be interpreted as hatred by those waiting to be offended and being a minority means they are guilty until proven innocent. At least that was the case with the 23 year old Muslim girl charged with ‘Terrorism” for possessing a book, here in the UK.

Samina Malik, is a young Muslim woman who worked in a stationary shop. Her crime, she wrote poems under the alias ‘Lyrical Terrorist’ of somewhat graphical nature and out of sheer curiosity downloaded some articles from the internet. As a teenager she wrote love poems according to her viewpoint of life at the time, later her purpose of life or viewpoint changed as she turned to Islam and so did her subjects of poetry. Reading and watching atrocities against Muslims day and day out, she wrote poems to express her anger like most other anti-establishment teenagers. However, what she did not know was that one day her very writings will put her behind bars for six years, for unlike most other teenagers who are into violence, she is a Muslim.

Can we assume that both women have made innocent mistakes and they had no real intentions of harming anyone? They became victims of their own ignorance or should they be treated as guilty until proven innocent due to their minority status?? There are high chances of Gillian Gibbons facing deportation only… depending upon Sudan’s inability to withstand pressure from the West because she is a British national in Sudan. Whereas Samina Malik has no such chance, being a Muslim in Britain she is accused of embracing an ‘evil ideology’ according to Blair, where ‘all terrorists are Muslim’. But there is a striking difference between Sudan – a war torn third world country facing serious humanitarian crisis with no rule of law, and Britain.

further readings on Samina Malik case:

An attack on liberty

Think no evil? are you serious?

Terror Stricken





Has Islam been Hijacked in the UK?

3 11 2007

Policy Exchange is a center-right think tank based in London. Recently they have published a report entitled: The hijacking of British Islam. Far from an extensive honest research it appears to be an agenda document propagating a campaign against Islam and Muslims in the UK. Policy exchange has previously published reports and researches on similar lines which can be deemed as material spreading hatred towards Muslim members of society. Although they don’t advocate violence, they are hell-bent on taking their hateful extreme version of liberal democracy to the world at the cost of innocent lives…which would inevitably lead to violence and chaos as we see in parts of the world.

The author of the recent report is a Dr. Denis MacEoin, Wikipedia article describes him as:

a novelist and a former lecturer in Islamic studies. His academic specializations are Shi‘ism, Shaykhism, Bábism, and the Bahá’í Faith, on all of which he has written extensively. His novels are written under the pen names Daniel Easterman and Jonathan Aycliffe.

The article also mentions:

In recent years, he has become active in pro-Israel advocacy (hasbara), chiefly in his capacity as a writer. He continues to work on Islamic issues, particularly the development of radical Islam.

I think reports such as these should serve as a wakeup call for the advocates of liberal democracy who are quick to address extremism elsewhere, when they have such dangerous form of extremism growing inside. Perhaps one day we will see the moderate voices condemn these hate-filled extremists from mainstream think tanks and British politics for sake of a peaceful progressive future. I am not counting on it!

The video below contain an interesting interview by Riz Khan (al-Jazeera) with guests from Policy Exchange and the Muslim council of Britain.





Mina Ahadi – Secularist of the Year!

29 10 2007

Mina Ahadi,  an Iranian dissident was recently awarded Secularist of the year Award by UK’s National Secular Society. Secularism in a nutshell is an assertion or belief that religious issues should not be the basis of politics, and Ahadi has striven against the religious clergy in Iran. Ahadi is also member of the communist workers party in Iran, a devert from Islam and founding member of the committee of ex-Muslims. Her achievements for secularism primarily circle around personal vendetta against Islam based on her experiences in Iran and perhaps her affiliation with communism. Hence, she accurately fits in description of a circumstantial secularist, a proponent of secularism in countries like Iran, who would be greeted with open arms by the Western secularists. In fact, any anti-Islam element, be it an organisation or individual can reach fame these days by criticising Islam or its laws in the West, like the fraudster turned media whore Ayan al-Heresay and the likes.

The secularist West is not sparing a single stone unturned in its secular vision for the Middle-east and the Muslim World. Iran stands accused of fuelling the ‘deadly ideology’ as the West prepares to enforce its ‘peaceful’ Secular ideology by initiating a War on Iran. We have already seen and continue to watch the fruits of Secularism in Afghanistan, Iraq, and may have to brace ourselves to see Secularism in action as the case for war on Iran is concocted.

Our secularist of the year probably is an outcast in Iranian society and certainly does not represent the views of the masses. Although, she is unable to influence the masses in Iran through ideas alone due to serious lack of substance, she may win some sympathisers by glorifying her experiences or perhaps become an Iranian Secularist icon. That’s not so important, not as much as how a Secularist is awarded and an Islamist declared ‘evil’ when those distinguishing good from evil are the very Secularists on a mission to destroy the world.