Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Moderate British Muslims Must Speak Up

If most British Muslims decry Islamic terrorism, why, oh why, don't they speak up while everybody is listening? Unfortunately, debating about Islam is still a taboo and moderate Muslims are badly represented.

Recently, whether we like to hear it or not, some bombing attempts were perpetrated by some British Muslims. Secondly, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaida's deputy leader, threatened to attack the UK "in retaliation for the knighthood given to the novelist Salman Rushdie", according to The Guardian.

Still, while these barbarian acts were done in the name of Allah, it appears for most of us that most Muslims didn't want to publicly condemn them. Does this mean that most British Muslims support jihadists?

According to the Daily Telegraph, while the percentage of "British Muslims accepting suicide attacks on the West" is at 13%, the percentage of those "admiring organisations like al-Qaeda" is at 16%. Besides, 37% of "young British Muslims would accept to live under sharia law rather than British law."

If British Muslims were asked to publicly express their opinions, most of them are not likely to do it. If most British Muslims decry Islamic terrorism, why, oh why, don't they speak up while everybody is listening? Unfortunately, debating about Islam is still a taboo and moderate Muslims are badly represented.

Some will say that the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), whose former leader Iqbal Sacranie was knighted by Tony Blair in 2005, represents moderate Muslims. Let's remember that after the attempt to bomb the Glasgow Airport, the MCB's current leader Muhammed Abdul Bari surprisingly stated that "the police and and the security services deserve the fullest support and co-operation from each and every sector of our society, including all Muslims."

This is rather surprising. In the past, the MCB, which is funded by the British government, has normally been hesitant to tell Muslims to go to the police if they suspect some of their friends or acquaintances to be involved in Islamic terrorism! As for former Islamist Ed Husain, he's rather not convinced by the stances adopted by the MCB.

According to Husain, "none of the leading members of the MCB have condemned the hard-line anti-Western ideology of figures such as Syed Qutb, the Egyptian radical fundamentalist who developed, in the early Sixties, the theological justification for violence in the name of establishing an Islamic state." He also added that "no one from the MCB seems willing to make that move." Moreover, the MCB never condemned the Hamas' bombings against Israel.

Now, talk about an organization that is supposed to represent moderate Muslims! It's about time that the British government sees that trust can be misplaced.

Obviously, the MCB has always been a factory of controversies. For example, Iqbal Sacranie, err I mean Sir Iqbal Sacranie once said that homosexuality is "not acceptable" despite adding that everybody should be tolerant. By referring to same-sex civil partnerships as "diseases", Sacranie also affirmed that they're "harmful" and don't have their place in "the very foundations of society." Let's also not forget the time when Muhammad Abdul Bari said that "British should try arranged marriages"...

Hopefully, there are British Muslims who have coherently and openly blasted Islamism and jihadists. In fact, think about political columnist Yasmin Alibhai Brown, Imran Ahmad (a young trustee of the British Muslims for Secular Democracy), Ed Hussain, Hassan Butt, Amid Hussain, Michael Nazir-Ali and members of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

The British government just wrongly assumed that the MCB, as a political body, is a voice for real moderate Muslims. Instead, the 400 morons of the MCB were more interested on being incoherent and injustices in the Middle East rather than on issues that affect all British. Of course, these issues are: community relations and home-grown terrorism. Yet, the MCB still pretends that it speaks for all sane Muslims.

If the MCB was a real political body for all sane Muslims, there's certainly no need to wonder why groups like British Muslims for Secular Democracy and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain were created! The British government can either pull the rug under the MCB (and also other useless political bodies) or just ridicule itself.

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