Wednesday, 18 April 2007

British Version of Islam

What does the fascist dictator Kelly mean by a 'British Version of Islam'?

On the 9 April 2007, the New Statesman magazine carried an article by Communities’ Secretary Ruth Kelly titled 'Time for a British version of Islam'. In it, she reiterated her latest plans for the Muslim community in Britain. These plans come after the decision to sideline the short-lived mosques initiative, the Mosques & Imams National Advisory Body (MINAB), as well discarding the findings of the government working groups established (then ignored) in 2005. MINAB, it seems, has not proved compliant enough. The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) have been similarly sidelined for the time being because they dared to suggest that there should be an enquiry regarding the 7th July bombings and also because they failed to tow the government line on other issues. Kelly's 'plan c' lists a new attempt to gain control of mosques and madrassas, using a carrot and stick approach. The carrot is money, either in the form of government grants or in the form of tax relief through obtaining charity status. The stick is in the form of new powers for the Charity Commission which can intervene in mosque affairs in a manner that bypasses normal legal processes, but also by making madrassas adhere to the Department for Education’s regulations on supplementary schools. The move to centrally control mosques and madrassas is not a surprising move for the British government. Repressive regimes (that are supported by Kelly’s government) such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, Uzbekistan and more recently the military junta of General Musharraf have all taken measures to control Muslim institutions. In most of these oppressive states, Friday (jummah) sermons are pre-written and government controlled bodies oversee the appointment of Imams to mosques. Kelly has not yet announced anything about controlling Friday sermons, but has floated the idea of establishing ‘certified’ Imams sometime in the future. In the Muslim world, the masses often call these 'government-scholars' but here the label 'Home Office Imams' may be more appropriate. These measures reflect the policies of a government that – abroad and at home - employs a coercive policy against independent Muslims that are critical of Western interference in the Muslim world. Abroad, there is an attempt to prevent the return of Islamic governance which will liberate the Muslim world from decades of living under colonialism. In Britain, there is a need to heap all the blame for the increased terrorist threat to Britain on Islam and the Muslim community. This need stems from a strategy by government to cover the on-going monumental disaster in Iraq - cited this week in a report by the Oxford Research Group as the leading cause of a more dangerous world. But perhaps, to Muslims, more bizarre than desiring control of institutions is the term: 'a British version of Islam'. One can guess what Kelly means by this. A compliant Muslim community that does not cheer when the government pursues its global war on terror is seen as a ‘hotbed of extremism’ or ‘apologists’ for terror. Similar attempts to fashion compliant forms of Islam were tried by Britain during the days of Empire. These attempts failed to win support from any substantial Muslim quarter, with the British government resorting to establishing the Ahmadiyyah Movement to try to pacify Muslim opposition. A vain attempt which gained no currency with the Muslim masses, instead hardening opposition to British colonialism. The challenge for Muslim communities in the west is to adhere to Islamic values despite government machinations. Our community must not be held to ransom by a colonialist government that tries to buy favour. The government must realise, the Muslim community is an inseparable part of the global Muslim Ummah and we will not have our voice subdued by policies that not only harm further the tattered view of the British government across the Muslim world but also establish divisive community relations at home.

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