EDL Girls – Don’t Call Me Racist: my thoughts

BBC 3 aired what may be one the most disastrous, basic reports – sorry, I meant to say ‘documentaries’ –  last night, EDL Girls – Don’t Call Me Racist. I call it a ‘basic report’ because it took only accounts and statements from a bunch of racists and uneducated bigots without challenging them in any way. Giving such such a hateful propaganda like the English Defence League’s a platform to spew their ill-informed views for the world to hear can be argued as extremely counter productive, and down right dangerous and outrageous when done so unchallenged. Just ask, what is to be achieved with this show now aired? The educated and sensible in our society will dismiss it without a doubt, but for the closet racists who are secretly searching for people with similar views, this show does nothing but encourage them to take action for their spiteful views.

BBC 3 is being criticised for giving “hateful propaganda” a platform. Matthew Collins, a researcher for the organisation Hope Not Hate, lambasted the BBC for broadcasting such “banal, ill-informed dross where a bunch of racists went unchallenged.”    

Nevertheless this shoddy excuse for a documentary was entertaining, it got a few laughs from me. I mean, who wouldn’t want to watch an uneducated bigoted fellah speak passionately about how ‘halal’ his loaf of bread is. “A few pennies of that (Kingsmill bread) went to the Taliban to put bullets in guns” says Jay. The Muslims are taking over Jay, one slice of bread at a time! Another EDL member on the show stated “anyone can join the EDL, even Muslims”, how generous of them. People took to twitter to express their opinions regarding the show. 

The show introduced Gail, a so called mother figure for the EDL who likes to yell “YORKSHIRE” repeatedly. Her struggle was with the courts trying bring two Asian men to justice who apparently brutally beat her up. I wonder how the BBC missed the opportunity to interview these two Asians to hear both sides of the story.

For a moment the show was slightly reassuring to show us Katie, who after constant bombardment and pressure from her family to join the EDL with them, decided not to as she didn’t want to be labelled as a racist.

What I found most worrying was the case of Amanda. How isolated individuals can find comfort in extremist organisations like the EDL in exchange for a sense of belonging.    

There isn’t much else to say about this show, so I shall conclude.

So what is it we Muslims should do about this? – simple, educate them. No matter how ignorant they may be, our duty is to at least try to convey the truth of our faith to them, whether they take it or not. People are humans at the end of the day and can learn from their mistakes and change. One of the greatest qualities Muhammad peace be upon him had was that he could change the heart of his enemies towards him to love him, we need acquire this quality in our society. Thank you.                            

Debate: Do the gospels portray a consistent picture of Jesus? (voting period)

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How consistent are the gospels? Can we rely on them to present the character of Jesus accurately? Follow my recent debate here as I challenge my opponent – Otakujorden that they aren’t at all consistent.

I do not wish to offend any Christian with this debate, such is not my intention. I hope those that read it will enjoy it and find it quite interesting. Thank you.

Posted from Saj’s Nexus

Britain’s Debate on the Niqab: My Thoughts

niqabLast week, Turkey’s parliament has allowed female MPs to wear the Muslim veil for the first time since it was banned from public buildings. “There is nothing in parliamentary bylaws that stands as an obstacle to this,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister. “Everyone should respect our sisters’ decision.”

As western countries have growing concerns about the Islamic head coverings, be it the face veil (niqab) or the headscarf, I believe this particular news is a sign in the right direction. I hope the Niqab debate which is now popular in the UK (thanks to Channel 4 and a few MPs) can benefit from Turkey’s example.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, I’m sure you’re all aware of the concerns people are having regarding the Islamic face veil here in the UK. There’s no hiding it or sugar coating it, non-Muslims are voicing their unease of women covered head to toe, walking and talking as British citizens. On the other hand it is obvious to some, and may be less obvious to others how much some of the issues on this topic are being blown out of proportion by the media. Issues are raised from thin air and given emphasis as if they’re major obstacles. Such as ‘the niqab in hospitals’. This is a problem which doesn’t exist within the NHS as far as my research goes. Mainly because any member of the NHS who observes the face veil is clearly aware that she has to take it off when on duty in public buildings simply on the basis of security. This is the type of unnecessary dialogue we certainly want to avoid, we want to deal with real concerns and questions about the face veil and not superficial sensationalism.

Where other countries have already banned face veils, and even minarets, here in Britain we do things differently. We like to discuss, talk, evaluate, dialogue, conversate, debate etc. You get the point, its a very British thing, but it is good thing.

Channel 4 held a discussion/debate on ‘Britain’s niqab‘ at the East London Mosque. With a complete female audience, and Douglas Murray, the only male out of the six panellists, sure it was joy to watch. Especially Murray, watching him sweep in with his generalised statements, but that didn’t surprise me at all. What did surprise me was Yasmin Alibhai Brown’s plea to the audience to ask the Taliban for their opinion on the face veil. The Niqab has been part of Britain for some twenty odd years now or even more. Free thinking, independent Muslim women pick the Niqab today out of their own choice to please their Creator. These are intelligent women of Britain, not blind followers of the Taliban. Her’s wasn’t the only surprisingly absurd contention raised that evening.

In the face of all the issues fired up in the space of 20 minutes, I believe the sisters discussed the topic very well. However, there are some points raised in this discussion that I would like to clarify as I understand them, which in future discussions I am certain can help the debate move forward.

The debate on whether the Niqab is mandatory or not is ongoing even within in Islam. Muslim women do realise this, and they are either of the opinion that it is mandatory or it isn’t. Both opinions are perfectly valid and can be justified. Even women who believe it isn’t mandatory still take it on as free choice. Islam allows this type of freedom of opinion on issues such as this. The argument that the Niqab isn’t mandatory is a misleading one. It should be noted that while majority of Muslims believe it isn’t mandatory, there is a minority which have the view that it is, and both views have to be considered. Also, whether or not the face veil is a cultural practice, it is more important to understand the freedom allowed regarding it in the context of religion and society. To say the face veil is a cultural practice is a false assumption to make. It can simply be validated as a religious practice by looking at basic historical evidence, the wives of the Prophet used to practice it, and it was never refuted or deemed as un-Islamic by the Prophet peace be upon him or by his companions.

Shalina Litt made a very important point. Whose discomfort are we going to favour? As a multicultural society we have to recognise we all live in different ways. We may not like the way one chooses to dress or look a certain way, but at least respect that it is within the boundaries of a diverse community. It is understandable that one can be discomforted by the sight of a face veil, but is it really justified by getting Muslim women to remove them? The discomforted is now comforted and the comforted discomforted, clearly this isn’t a solution. There is a better way, I believe in dialogue and discussion. The more we talk about the issues concerning us the better we understand each other, responsibility belongs on both sides of the fence. Sisters observing the face veil need to understand that parts of the British public are genuinely bothered by it, may see it as a sign of oppression and therefore may be intimidated. It is first and foremost the duty of these sisters to help remove the misconceptions about it, and the best way to go about that is communication. However, those who may not be familiar with the Islamic practice of veiling, should make attempts to understand the philosophy behind the act, ask a sister who veils or enquire about the validity of the niqab in social and religious dynamics. If we want to get to that heart of the issue this is the type of attitude I believe we should be having.

I am not convinced the debate on the niqab is about Muslim exceptionalism. Rather exceptionalism in the context of the religious has been a part of multicultural Britain for many years. It is because of our exceptionalistic society that Britain is the most multicultural and tolerant place to live in the 21st century. Of course there are limits and boundaries, it isn’t apparent that the practice of the niqab is beyond reasonable limits. It isn’t a harmful practice, nor is it worn to offend anyone. By all means if it does offend any person, it shouldn’t be dealt with by speaking against the practice, but by making a positive case for it and highlighting the benefits in it which many Muslim sisters wear it for.

Douglas Murray was of course a delight to watch voicing his simplistic black or white generalisations. His style of arguing was quite an authoritative type, and so he made some startling statements without any real logical reasoning. He first made the assertion that nobody knows who Fatima Barkatullah is due to her face veil. Well I’m sure Channel 4 know who she is, Jackie Long introduced her with name and profession right at the beginning of the debate as she did for the other two veiled panellists. They all spoke clearly and made valid points, and I’m sure everyone understood what they were saying regardless of their head coverings. Sahar Al-Faifi was correct in stating that the majority of the world’s communication isn’t face to face, examples such as Twitter, Facebook, texts and that amazing app called WhatsApp. These are all great examples of how we’ve evolved our preferences of social interaction, we feel just as connected to one another via phone calls and texts as we do face to face. Also picking on Douglas’ point, ‘Muslim women who veil in France have taken it off, is it so negotiable?’. The face veil is negotiable when it is a matter of security, and the reason why so many have taken off their niqabs is not because they wanted to, but simply because they are forced to by the French government. Many cannot afford the fine and therefore have to compromise their religious practice for a law which instead of preventing bigotry and Islamophobia, attracts such qualities.

The debate on the British niqab may be a long one, or we may be distracted by some other news sometime in the near future and forget all about it. But it remains to be seen whether or not Britain will follow in the footsteps of the French and ban the niqab. The niqab is a simple piece of cloth which a Muslim woman chooses to cover her face with in modesty and worship to her Creator. It harms no one nor is it meant to offend anyone. Veiled women still contribute to society and interact with other people on a day to day basis. Douglas was right on one thing, ‘Britain is the most tolerant place to live even as a Muslim’, but if we impose a ban on the veil then we would be taking a step in the other direction. What crucially needs to be recognised, is the veil is misunderstood in parts of Britain and we need to deal with this problem before anything else, people are at unease and concerned, this can only be resolved by dialogue and education, not by a ban. We must consider the rights and concerns of everyone collectively, and we mustn’t force a minority of women in Britain to assimilate to western culture by taking off their covers.

Woolwich

22/5/13, we learnt of a man been brutally murdered in a machete attack in Woolwich, South East London. Two suspects have been arrested after being shot and wounded in a police fire. Met Police have said a murder inquiry is being led by its Counter Terrorism Department. There are unconfirmed reports that the dead man was a soldier.

My deepest prayers and condolences go out to the victim and his family and friends. I hope the murderers and anyone else who may be in connection to this heinous crime are brought swiftly to justice and pay for the agony and pain caused.

The people who carried out the attack were heard saying “Allahu Akbar” meaning “God is Great” – BBC political editor Nick Robinson reported.

Thugs and murderers are not serving God, they have no place in religion with this act of violence and crime. I and many, many other Muslims and non Muslims worldwide condemn such a hideous action of hatred wholeheartedly. Islam and God completely forbid these people for what they have done with the harshest punishment.

“Whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men.” – Qur’an 5:32

It is sad to hear these types of violence taking place in Britain and in other parts of the world. Street violence is a problem especially in the UK. As “self proclaimed thugs” walk the streets in broad daylight hours causing havoc in public; we as ordinary people of the country suffer greatly and even more so the victims. As a society we should find this alarming. We should question what is happening and what is being done about it rather than blindly nod our heads along with politicians. Is the government more interested in foreign policy and intervention than the problems occurring within our youths today? What are they prioritising? What efforts are they making? Pressuring the government in these types of issues and unifying our condemnation are the first steps towards banishing such acts of violence off our streets.

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Saudi Arabia deports ‘irresistible’ men deemed ‘too handsome’ to women

With news like this who needs entertainment? Saudi Arabia has been known for it’s outrageous laws and regulations, but this gives a new meaning to their brand of religious conservatism. Three men were denied the right to visit and deported back to the UAE after they were thought to be too ‘irresistible’ for women. It’s the ultimate compliment mixed with a slap in the face. While other countries are busy deporting people for illegal stay and employment and perhaps other valid reasons, Saudi Arabia is occupied in driving out awesomely good looking men! Because Saudi men ‘are worth it’ and they just can’t handle it!

Now as person who has a keen interest in religious and political matters of world, I don’t find this justified in any way, as I suspect anybody else in their right mind wouldn’t either. I cannot think of any religious or historical example which would approve the reason behind this deportation.

Of course this isn’t the first time we’re hearing Saudi pass a ridiculous decision, there are plenty more, but this has to be the funniest by far.

Beauty is subjective, some people might find them attractive and some might not. But so what if they’re ‘irresistible’? It’s not their fault. They have every right not be deported because of the way they look. Why only assume that women will become so attracted these men that they won’t control themselves? Who’s to say that a decent woman won’t approach one of these ‘irresistible’ males for marriage in an Islamic way? After all Islam does recommend to look for physical attraction along with other attributes regarding characteristics and faith in a potential spouse.

So I’m left thinking now, I might need to be careful on my futures visits to the Middle East, as I might be in for a surprise due to my awesomeness and looks that turn heads in awe!

Pardon my humorous vanity and cheap puns, couldn’t resist.

Posted from Saj’s Nexus

Praying for Boston

Earlier this week we learned of a disaster which took place in Boston. A number of bombs went off during the end of a marathon, in which a number of innocent people were killed and many injured.

My prayers go out to those who lost their lives, those that were injured and the friends and families and anyone else effected by this act of terror. I pray that the individuals responsible for this tragedy are brought to justice as soon as possible.

“The investigation is in its infancy, there are no claims of responsibility and the range of suspects and motives remains wide open.” – FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers

Innocent civilians were the target in this attack, whoever may be responsible is a criminal, a terrorist, a murderer in the eyes of the law, religion and God.

Until we hear from authorities to provide more information about who may have been responsible, I hope people hold off on making baseless statements and assumptions as to who might have been involved. I don’t think it’s fitting to speculate and blame without a  justified reason. 

Let’s not forget that this is happening in other parts of the world too. Just like in Boston, innocent people are being killed and tortured in Bangladesh, Palestine, Burma, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, etc… the list goes on. Just like we actively condemn this act of violence in Boston, we as decent people of society should condemn in the same manner; the violence and killings which are happening in other countries as well.

The Qur’an condemns such acts of violence in no uncertain terms, “Whoever kills an innocent life it is as if he has killed all of humanity…”.

Posted from Saj’s Nexus

Never judge a book by its cover!

Originally posted on bbeatriicee B:

I never really made a proper introduction of myself and I don’t plan to do one. That’s simply because I don’t want to waste a post on that, or your time, and I couldn’t tell you anything interesting or out of the ordinary (if you check my About page it says simple and that’s how it is).
However, this post will be 2 in 1 haha. You’ll find out one or two things about me and I get to brag about yet another thing that bothers me quite a bit.So here we go.

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