Katie Hopkins’ Anti Muslim Rants: My Thoughts

Katie-Hopkins-most-awful-tweets-everUp until today, I didn’t know who Katie Hopkins was. After reading her horrible, anti-Muslim tweet about Palestinians, I became curious to know more about this woman. And quite frankly I regret googling her. Its like the time when I first heard about Katie Price, I googled her only to realise I’d wasted my time thinking she was anything remotely important. Both are publicity junkies, as the saying goes, ‘any publicity is good publicity, even if its bad publicity’. I don’t understand why the media gives her attention, well that’s a lie, I do understand why. As long she is getting you ratings, she can be any arrogant D list celebrity. Katie Hopkins is a regret the UK surely won’t miss once it’s gone.

With regards to her tweets on Muslims and Palestinians, and inciting terrorist attacks, she should be sent to Guantanamo Bay, right? If a Muslim tweeted about starting a ‘bombing campaign’ on the UK or America, then he’s pretty much asking for a one way ticket to the place.

People have taken to Twitter for her arrest to happen and I pray she is arrested swiftly, but somehow I think Katie Hopkins will be treated lightly even if she is. I’ll leave it to the readers’ imagination to think as to why that might be.

Not only does she call for genocide on Palestinians, she also doesn’t like fat people and pokes fun at Ebola sufferers. She also thinks kids named ‘Tyler’ belong to lower class families and don’t do their homework. She clearly isn’t not all there.

There are plenty of famous individuals who incite Islamophobic and offensive remarks, she isn’t the first. Bill Maher, Sam Harris, Ayan Hirsi Ali, Douglas Murray, Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Robert Morey and many more, all of who make no apology conversing regular anti Muslim rhetoric. Katie’s offensive rant on Twitter came to me as no surprise, and it shouldn’t really surprise anyone from where I see it. Yes people are angry at her and I understand that, we all should be angry at her, but it is quite clear by her personality, she revels in our frustration at her.

Of course one’s reply, to hateful and anti-Muslim comments like Katie Hopkins’, should be for her to educate herself. But I believe she knows that. I believe those like her who spit anti-Muslim and offensive rhetoric, choose not to educate themselves on what they speak. They pick what to read and listen to according to their narrow view and how they want the world to be. Muslims and good people in general shouldn’t be distracted by such Islamophobic people and what they say, we should spend less time worrying about what offensive things they’re going to say next and think more about educating those who want to learn. I do believe in tackling Islamophobia, but I believe a greater benefit is achieved by educating those who clearly aren’t Islamophobic and have good intentions to learn about the Muslim faith. Thank you.

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.

My thoughts on ‘Ramadan Muslims’

Before I address this topic I’d like to say that I am not a perfect Muslim myself. I have my own short comings as a person of the faith and I seek to improve my Islamic character and actions.

What is a Ramadan-Muslim? I hear you ask… Well, Ramadan-Muslims are those group of Muslims who are normally less practicing in their general life but seem to increase their efforts during Ramadan. They begin to fast, pray, read the Qur’an, increase their good deeds etc for the month of Ramadan, things they wouldn’t normally do or rarely attend to in any other month. These types of Muslims get criticised for their increase of spirituality just for the month of Ramadan, mainly by those who are generally practicing Muslims (in my opinion).

It’s a funny situation, the irony of seeing someone being so religiously motivated throughout Ramadan, and then going back to his or her normal less practicing way of life as soon as the month is over. And by ‘less practicing’ I mean missing prayers, socialising in un-Islamic activities and places such as shisha bars and clubs etc. It is very clear how much of a contradiction it is to be like this, and I am sure those who are like this are intelligent enough to realise that they are in one way, wrong. Being a Muslim is not like having an on/off switch, where one moment you can be fully practicing and not the next. Ramadan is a month to reflect on one’s own self, give up bad habits and replace them with good ones. It’s a month of training and preparation for the next 11 months, not a month of temporary religiousness. So for example If a person tends to read the Qur’an more often in Ramadan, then he should maintain habit even after Ramadan.

But we see those who like to criticise these types of Muslims for being hypocrites and give them names such as ‘Ramadan-Muslims’ or ‘part time Muslims’. Various comments are made about them. A woman might only wear her hijab for Ramadan and she is criticised for it and deemed a hypocrite, or
someone might be attending the masjid more often for Ramadan and is criticised for only doing it in Ramadan. I think this kind of attitude towards so called Ramadan-Muslims is unfair and discouraging. Why not recognise the efforts people are making and over look their bad habits? If someone is trying to make a difference, be it only for Ramadan, why not encourage them that they may continue their efforts throughout the year? I hope people recognise that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) never discouraged any sort of good action. I hope people realise that saying more good things, increasing ones prayer and good actions etc in the month of fasting is at least a good thing. And good things should be encouraged.

So these are some of my thoughts on ‘Ramadan Muslims’, I hope it was helpful. And I wish everyone around the world a wonderful Ramadan 2012 full of meaning and reward.

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Just a few of my odd thoughts on Twitter

A quick few comments about Twitter.

You’d never think that so many people would be impressed by such a simple idea, and yet they are. Its a big part of people’s lives now, ‘tweeting’ about regular daily activities, which if said in normal face to face conversations would seem quite weird. “Oh I’ve just eaten an apple” or “on my way to work” or “listening to Justin Bieber on my iPod, OMG he’s so awesome!” If someone had approached me randomly and made such and such comments, I would say he was either the most boring person in the world, a crazy lunatic or missing a social life. Yet one can tweet all of this nonsense and people will actually read them, joke!

It is the most unnecessary application ever to have been invented. We never really needed it. I mean before all this Twitter business and social networking, we Humans had the ability of verbal communication, and we still do, some Twitter-holics might even be surprised to know this. The old art of face to face communication, ever being perfected as generations pass by, is still as effective method as it was since ancient times. The world was absolutely fine without Twitter, its not as though Jesus or Muhammed or Moses (pbut) ever said “hey, for more deep and thought provoking wisdom and knowledge, follow me on twitter”. That would sound ridiculous.

Though I must admit, I myself do have a Twitter account. But I don’t, as I have mentioned above, tweet about useless activities I have accomplished throughout my day. Nor do I obsessively tweet 24/7 like a wacky addict with piss poor punctuation and literacy skills. I do tweet, but when there is something productive to say, something funny, you know…something actually worth getting my phone out of my pocket for.

So this is what I think about Twitter. And one more thing, before people misunderstand me, Justin Bieber is not awesome!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

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My Thoughts on Robert Morey and his ‘Nuke the Kaba’ Plan

Just when I thought I’ve read the worst of anti-Islamic writings on the internet, yet again I have stumbled onto another article which is truly amazingly stupid (apologies but there’s no other way to put it, its just stupid). I am of course referring to Dr. Robert Morey’s article: How Should a Christian Respond to the Death of Osama bin Laden? In which he wrote:

“First, as I wrote in my book, How to Win the War Against Radical Islam, the war against the Muslim Jihadists will be long and costly and will not be won until we bomb the Kabah in Mecca. Islam is based on a brick and mortar building that can be destroyed. They pray to that building five times a day, make a pilgrimage to it, run around it, kiss a black rock on the wall, then run between two hills and finally throw rocks at a pillar. What if that building, the Kabah, was destroyed? They could not pray to it or make a pilgrimage to it. The old pagan temple of the moon-god, al-ilah, is the Achilles’ heel of Islam. Destroy it and you destroy Islam’s soul.”

It is amazing how Robert Morey (a Christian Scholar) sees this as an acceptable idea to advocate. How did he ever reach this conclusion? Where or who did he get this radical idea from? These are just some of the questions I would want to ask him. He is convinced destroying the Ka’ba would prove a great loss to Muslims and would destroy Islam’s soul, as if the Ka’ba cannot be rebuilt. The Ka’ba has been rebuilt and reconstructed and re-erected many times even according Islamic sources, one can find examples in narrations of hadiths[1]. Even the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself contemplated the reconstruction of the Ka’ba, but unfortunately it did not happen in his lifetime[2]. And one would disagree with the thought of Islam’s soul being the Ka’ba, a Muslim believes rather that the absolute foundation and core of Islam is the oneness and absolute attributes of the Creator.

Not only is this suggestion of his radical, extreme and hate-filled, Robert Morey is also wrong in his knowledge of what the Ka’ba represents for Muslims. Muslims do not pray to the Ka’ba in Makkah as he wrote it, Islam teaches to pray to God almighty in the direction of the Ka’ba. The Ka’ba is not the object of worship; this is very clear from Islamic sources. And Muslims do not believe they are worshipping some kind of Moon-god, the Ka’ba is not attributed to that idea. One can find a number of verses from the Qur’an to disprove Morey’s Moon-god accusation. For example: Allah created the Moon[3], the Sun and universe, and He is unique in His attributes not equivalent[4] to His creation.

It doesn’t take much time to refute these accusations Robert Morey has put forward, in fact it would take a learned individual no longer than 15 minutes to disprove these  types of argumentations. They are extremely weak arguments; one simply needs to do some basic study to know this.

It is truly, deeply disturbing to me that Robert Morey, an academic scholar, entertains an idea of violence simply by justifying it by his misrepresentation of Islam. This clearly shows his intellectual dishonesty and that he has an anti-Islamic agenda. As for the rest of his article, it isn’t much helpful either; one may be amazed by his ideas and proposals. It is for such reasons that I do not now for a moment consider Dr. Robert Morey a trustworthy, reliable academic. His thoughts prove to be just as extreme and radical as terrorists, they are clearly not the answers we are looking for if we desire peace and unity and social justice.

[2] Sahih Muslim: Book 7, Hadith 3078 (English reference)

[3] Qur’an 21:33

[4] Qur’an 112:4