From a Correspondent
The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain has condemned the new Terrorism Act 2000 as “an assault on civil liberties” and intends to take the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, to court for violation of the European Human Rights Convention, which is now part of British law. In a seminar held in Holborn, London, to consider these laws, Gareth Pierce, a leading human rights lawyer observed that “the new Act shifts the burden of proof of 'not guilty' from the prosecution to the accused, which is a flagrant abuse of the presumption of innocence, an inalienable right of all citizens of this country guaranteed in English common law. The Act, she said, “was rushed through Parliament with the minimum of debate, showing the present government’s contempt for the concept of a collision course between human rights and any act related to terrorism. It would be possible, she added, “for any citizen to be arrested on the grounds that, for example, collecting money for charitable projects run by a proscribed organization is sufficient evidence of an illegal action under this law. The Police could, under the terms of the Act, “plunder through people’s houses, where anyone could have material of an innocent nature that could be interpreted as in support of terrorism. Meetings held between three persons would be sufficient grounds for an arrest also.” Gareth Pierce, who was the ‘Birmingham Four’ lawyer, claimed that Muslims in Britain are being bought off, being told not to worry about working for Kashmir or for Algeria. But these assurances have no affect upon the police. When they decide that they want to pursue someone under the Terrorism Act they would get word from an outside government agent such as an Algerian or an Egyptian Prosecutor and they would act on it. Furthermore, she said, “agents in Algeria or Egypt can alert members of the intelligence services here in Britain, and an arrest can be made under the terms of the new law.” She recommended not to accept any assurances that may be given by politicians about possible application of the Act to groups unless backed up by a written endorsement from the Home Secretary. If British citizenship were offered to you, she advised, you would do well to refuse it because “at least a thousand of such offers have been made by the Home Office, but have never come through.” She advised any suspect to seek the services of a solicitor immediately.
Gareth Pierce further said that the police, who are empowered to arrest under this Act and to detain suspects for up to seven days, do not have enough knowledge of the politics of foreign countries to decide who is or who is not a terrorist. Furthermore, the police do not have enough knowledge of the different meanings of Jihad, which include, e.g, giving money to the less fortunate in Bosnia and Kashmir.
Ms Pierce stated that when she had visited Peter Hain, the then Home Office Minister, about alleged terrorists in the Yemen, she complained to Mr. Hain about the use of the term “Islamic Fundamentalism” as a term of abuse or a derogatory term used in connexion with Muslims. But he used the same term himself when referring to the fact that the “greatest threat to this country is from Islamic fundamentalists”.
Sibghat Kadri, Q. C., said that the list of proscribed organizations included three that are legal in Pakistan. This, he added, was “an attack on the sovereignty of an independent state and, by implication, makes all Pakistanis terrorists”. He suggested that the Anglican church would have been chargeable under these laws during South Africa’s apartheid era as it aided and financed the ANC, which was engaged in bomb attacks in that country. Indeed, the Home Secretary himself would have landed in prison under these laws because, as leader of the Nation Union of students’ in Great Britain, he supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which was a far-left organization at that time and was a wholehearted supporter of the ANC.
Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Leader of the Muslim Parliament, said that, at bottom, the laws are an assault on the civil liberties of the citizens of this country, and he appealed to all Muslims to join forces with other organizations involved in combating “this draconian and unnecessary measure”. “Formerly”, Dr Siddiqui said, “terrorism was defined as an exclusively political crime, but now it embraces anyone promoting a ‘political, religious, or ideological’ agenda through the use or threat of violence. Such a wide catch-all definition could jeopardize legitimate protest against GM foods, asylum seekers and immigration laws, the Criminal Justice and Police bills, the World Trade Organization, or State oppression. It is a licence for state–terrorism”, he added.
The meeting, chaired by Jaffer Clarke, called for Muslims to form an alliance with non-governmental organizations such as animal-rights, anti-globalization, and environmentalist campaigners to combat this blatant and flagrant attack on civil liberties in order to avoid being marginalised by campaigning against the Act solely as an attack on Islam and Muslims.
An Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn Labour’s Leader
I'd like to congratulate you on your election as Leader of the Labour Party.
I know from the old lobbying days that you are supportive of and positive towards the Muslim community in Britain, and that you help and assist people from ethnic, black, minority, immigrant and religious groups whether members of the party or no.
With homophobia and hate crimes very much on the rise, it is now more important than ever to support Muslims and Muslimas in their lives. Whether it is for ‘Stop and Search’ or whether they are targeted for their dress, behaviour or apparent non-compliance to British norms of tolerance over gender issues, sexual preferences, dress, or ritual practices.
The PREVENT initiative has resulted unfortunately in British Muslimdom feeling that they are objects of suspicion and distrust, rather than helping to reduce extremism, violence and disaffection in our community.
It has been awful to see the way that the British press has attempted to destroy your character, reputation and sincerity through a campaign of disinformation. (Marxist bikes, eh?) Yet, the paradox is that it has rebounded against them and made people like my granddaughter, aged 16, cohere to Labour rather than be negativised.
It is a long time now since the Rushdie affair, but we still receive a very adverse response from right wing publications, political groups and other haters who cannot understand that Islam is a religion of peace and redemption.
We are addressing concerns of radicalisation in our mosques and places of learning and we work online to weed out those on the internet who would rush to Syria to fight with Isis.
But Isn't it ridiculous that a Muslim student studying anti-terrorism at university should have been arrested by the police on suspicion of terrorism.
More Islamic schools are balanced in their attitudes towards students who express usually innocuous Islamic phrases that are no more than devotional sayings. And understand those who wish to wear beards and Islamic dress down to the ankles.
If you have time in your busy life for reading I’d like to recommend to you a book on the French reactions to the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the subsequent demos by the middle class Christian right. It’s entitled ‘’Who is Charlie: Xenophobia and the New Middle Class’’ by Emmanuel Todd, who has recognised the largely Islamophobic ''catholic -zombie '' nature of the demos supportive of Charlie.
Jeremy, once again please accept my praises for your policies on house building, poverty reduction, blind militarism by the establishment, tax credits, student fees, and good hearted approaches to immigration.
Offering every support from we Muslims in politics,
An Alternative Voice. The situation of immigrants to this country - the haven of security for those fleeing persecution, torture and abuse in their own countries - iis desperate. What form of cruelty can it be when an immigrant has to wait more than eleven years to have their status recognised and to be able to be reunited with their family? What type of cruelty is it when an immigrant being forced to board a plane to face torture in their own country has his head pushed down on to his thighs and is suffocated to death. What kind of heartless anti-democratic behaviour is it when a stateless cockle picker in Morecombe Bay, Lancashire loses her life at the hands of bully boy gang leaders? Now that the prime minister has set up a ‘hostile environment working group’ to make it extremely difficult for asylum seekers and others to obtain their rightful benefits and services, the position of migrants to this country has become intolerable. Medical Justice, a charity set up to combat the abuses against pregnant asylum seekers, has revealed the dreadful treatment of asylum seekers which has caused stillbirths, miscarriages and acute mental health problems. The treatment of gay activists from a number of repressive Middle-East countries, particularly Iran, is worrying, especially from a post-modern, secularist, pro-gay fringe in parliament. Some seekers of asylum here - where they believed they would be given refuge for their religious, mainly Christian, convictions - have been turned back to face an uncertain future at home. Others, who have experienced political oppression for the flimsiest of democratic protest in the first country, have been rejected by the second and subsequent countries they have tried to find help from. I agree with Sarah Teather, the ex - minister for families who has said that she would like to hear ‘’alternative voices’’ on immigration. We need to hear the voices of leftists, democrats, liberals and truth seekers who will oppose the rhetoric around ‘’floods’’ of immigrants and ‘’torrents’’ of asylum seekers to follow the Mail and the Evening Standard. The situation may not be as despicable as that faced by Spanish Heritage ‘’illegals’’ [I refuse to use the pejorative term Hispanics] in the US, or as that of Moroccan migrants to Spain, but to seek to deprive those who come here in the hope of finding a charitable, human response to their needs is antipathetic to every British standard of Justice. The alternative voice that we need to hear is the one calling for humane, caring and equitable treatment of those who need our help, and not the grating, discordant sounds of those, often from immigrant families themselves, calling for repressive checks on entry to the richest country in the world.
The Muslim Institute
This is my letter of support to Sarah:
Dear Miss Teather,
I write to congratulate you on your principled stand on the LibDem Party that has taken a disastrous turn to Toryism.
I and my fellow Muslims appreciate your position over the benefits cap, where unbridled spending on unnecessary nuclear submarines, excessive diplomatic representation, and colonial-era swaggering in unheard of places like Kyrgyzstan have led to cuts in poor people’s benefit money.
The LibDems support of draconian immigration policies like the fascist era racist vans and the £1,000 inducement to give up every cherished hope and leave the country is deeply offensive to right-minded British people who believed their country stood for a welcome to those oppressed by intolerant, tyrannical regimes.
I support your resignation over his matter and encourage you to examine the Labour Party’s position on benefits and immigration where I believe my Muslim followers can now turn for redress.
However, "The Taqwacores" appears to be a novel about immaturity, Western struggle for young, unconnected Muslims who have an innocent purity of 'Deen' or religion.
Breaking so many taboos in Islamic culture about music, co-habitual relations, social behaviour, religious practice (women leading the Kutbah or prayer meeting, for example) that it makes for an uneasy, revolutionary and iconoclastic reading for the traditional Muslim critic. One wonders if Michael Muhammad Knight will be taken as an apostate.
Young people do make music, do wear tatoos and Mohican haircuts, do pray behind women and do take the prophet's name in vain, but let them do so until they come to see that there are aberrations, and that Islam calls for righteousness, plain living, clean family relations and normalised sexuality.
Last edited by the author on Jun 3, 2008 8:05:21 PM PDT
Malik in Atlanta
I think several thousands of years of the oral tradition of storytelling, in many different cultures, proves you wrong on that point. As for your review - well, garbage would be a good word for it.
Reply to David L Davies:
However, the scholars of the Islamic Iberian renaissance were Muslims - Ibn Isa, Al Razi, Avicenna (Ibn Sina) and Ibn Rushd were the four Arab physicians whose textbooks had been in use between the eighth and the twelfth century A.D. They were considered as the main sources of medical learning known to Europe from the early middle ages. These Arab physicians had been the basis of knowledge on medicine for four hundred years, and would continue to be so until the loss of Granada by the Muslims in 1492 to the kings of Castile.
The Literary Apologist for Secular Christianity. Emmet Scott, ''The Impact of Islam''.
Not since Doughty has such a diatribe against Islam been unleashed on an unsuspecting Muslim readership. Emmet Scott has written a poorly referenced work with exaggerated, unsubstantiated, old saws we have heard for centuries through Pococke, Mandeville, Muir and Lawrence.
It has more than the conventional, secular Christian litany of anti-Muslim jibes. The only real substantiation of any part of his thesis comes from the well known nut case anti Islamicist, Gisèle Littman. Scott joins the mortal fabulist, Christopher Hitchens, as a co-contender for the most Islamophobic writer of the twenty-first century. How could any rational historian fly in the face of centuries of received wisdom, allied with DNA evidence from his many blood descendants still living today, in his claim that there never was a Prophet Muhammad?
Emmet Scott has stated that during the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries Christendom had no concept of the ''holy war'' and, as such, these had been promulgated by Muslims. He claims that Islam promoted ''toxic ideas'' such as the holy war, which he believes was completely unknown to Christianity. But the first Crusade by the English king at the end of the eleventh century was nothing if not a holy war to recapture Jerusalem from the control of Islam. I despair of the modern historian who can make such outlandish claims in ''The Impact of Islam'' which I fear might be the next ''Satanic Verses''.
In his new book ‘’The Impact of Islam’’, Scott makes some amazing conclusions about received Islamic history. He looks at what he calls the “progressive Islam myth’’ and outlandishly makes the claim that it was Christianity, not Islam, which brought civilisation to Europe between the tenth and eleventh centuries. This ignores the tremendous achievements of Islamic Spain in al Andalus when Islam was at a pinnacle of successful cultural and religious hegemony and brought new libraries and medical knowledge to European culture. Admittedly, these influences were not introduced exclusively by Islam, but to a lesser extent by other religious and cultural influences too.
Allegations of piracy and slavery against Islam are fine coming from a writer whose liberal Western schema gave us colonialism, and the cross Atlantic slave trade, resulting in prisoners dying in thousands aboard the piratical, Elizabethan, square rigged brigs.
Incredibly, Scott says that a substantial proportion of Muslims agree that Islamic attacks in modern day Europe are sanctioned by the Qu’ran. No attribution or reference is given, nor does he show any empathy towards the efforts mosques and madrasas are making to counteract this issue, particularly amongst the young. He does not refer to any press releases by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), and other bodies such as the Muslim Institute, totally denying such atrocities and assuring the public of their un Islamic nature.
This apologist for secular Christianity takes a line that is unbalanced on any reading of the Qur’an that specifies strict conditions for warfare, and Scott is actually defying the historical context of sixth-century Arabia’s internecine struggles.
However, his most outrageous remark is that the Qur'an makes no sense, and ''disconnected and puzzling incidents’’ are completed by the Hadith. But this is also part of a revered canon of Islamic literature, so I argue in return that his book amounts to a hate crime against Islam that should be reported to the Metropolitan police.
He continues with a list of what he terms the ‘supposed’ deeds of the early Muslims; thereby, with the doubt he wants to place on recorded historical fact, making an Islamophobic attack on Muslimdom.
To make matters worse, he propounds the highly unoriginal thesis that Islam was spread by violent warlike attacks, accompanied by forced conversions. The Qur’an categorically forbids the spreading of the faith by the sword in Sura 2. 256 of the Qur'an which warns: "There must be no coercion in matters of faith. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error".
Referring to Islam as a ''totalitarian political ideology with religious overtones’’ is a misconception of the nature of the Islamic faith. No! Islam is religion. It is also a way of life through sanctity, belief, cleanliness and redemption. It is unfortunate that this unschooled Christian apologist does not have the modesty, or sense of piety to check himself from such appalling falsehoods.