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'Muslim and British cannot co-exist'

Originally posted on Muslims in England.com: Muslims - The Friendly, Happy, Normal people

One of my favourite reactions to my British Muslimness is: "So you're a floor-rug sitting, infidel-condemning, foot-in-sink washing, Arab-loving towel-on-head kinda' person huh?" Sometimes, the only response to the average media enthralled homosapien of society is to gently nod, smile and hand them a leaflet entitled 'Muslims: The Friendly, Normal, Happy People!'

I have other priorities but I must explain that this "radical Muslim" notion is one you don't really understand, fear even, because it's fabricated. Can Muslims be radical? Yes, I wore a yellow headscarf, totally radical man. Are there radical Muslims around? Yes, they skate without kneepads and pray on dirt. The media forces this image of Muslims who are educated in kung-fu and whoop-your-ass-judo which must be stopped unless the whole world becomes Muslim. But a Muslim is just like you. No, really. Living in the UK as a Muslim is no different than living as a sapling in a forest. It is home, a home that nurtures and challenges as well as presenting opportunities to study and give back to society a piece of intellectual gold. I am both Muslim and British. While there is a balance in my identity I tend to be more Muslim since I take that with me wherever I go. There are values and principles I do not abandon because I believe them to be from God and therefore perfect. I can drop the Britishness because that's imperfect but above all, a nationalist identity. All you need to know is that the invention of this "Muslim" dates back to before the Middle-East bled with oil and Osama-bin-Laden had a prime-time slot on Al-Jazeera...

Lets for a moment explore the origins of "Islam". Islam as a concept is believed by Muslims to have begun with the original 'big-bang', the creation of the Universe, when God said 'Let there be light' (Gen.v3). Islam is not 1400 years old. Islam did not begin and end with the Prophet Muhammad. The Judaic-Christian-Muslim monotheistic faith groups maintain that the first man created was free from prejudice, culture, patriotism and race. If we take Muslim in its literal meaning as a person who actively submits towards peace - towards God - then Adam was the first 'Muslim'. We all know his story: A unified soul, Adam the Prophet inhabited the essence of living with rules in a heaven. In the borderless Paradise he struggled with his own humanity but gained an important lesson in forgiveness and a revered status from the Omni-benevolent God. And this creation, law, home, struggle and God as a package, is Islam.

Today we have 2 billion people calling themselves Muslim reliving that struggle every day, contributing to society, even if it seems 'alien' to them. England is a small fraction of paradise, albeit a somewhat bleak and clouded land, nonetheless it is one that no Muslim, no human would intentionally and rationally cause harm to. Muslims are not and have never been the enemy; sincerely study their sources, look at them in their working lives, only aspiring to be the best people they can be. They have to pay bills, deal with pressure, come home to jumping children and watch the evening news. Just like you.

Fair enough there are British customs your average Muslim isn't too happy with; foreign policies on repeat, double standards in the democratic process and accepted-racial slurs that flow from the media, depending on what decade we're in. England however is, was a great nation. Built on the courageous foundations of moral conduct, equity and freedom, England has been home to great people - William Wilberforce, an abolitionist whose powerful campaign ended slavery; the devout Florence Nightingale and her refusal of the 'mother-then-wife' status quo, and Winston Churchill who, as the Times magazine heralded, 'stood alone against fascism and renewed the world's faith in the superiority of democracy'. If we stand back we see England's progressive history has been very in tune with Islamic ideologies. This is one of the greatest reasons Muslims are here in England, living with the hope that these deceased pillars of society will be revived, if not by the 'Arab-looking-towel-wearing' Muslims, then hopefully by our friends, our teachers, our successors and, with a very English skepticism, by our government.

Being “Muslim in England” is not a contradiction. There is no 'foreign land' to a Muslim. This whole planet and life itself is a short-lived stop at whichever country-station we are placed in. Allow us to be your guests, live to help you, live with you in England and may you learn that Muslims, true Muslims, are very humble, intelligent and logical people. Just like you.


Published May 2009 on www.muslimsinengland.com


1 comment:

  1. ‎"If we stand back we see England's progressive history has been very in tune with Islamic ideologies"

    Jack straw, the queen, Blair and many others have been apologising for the history of Britain which was ripe with many colonial adventures... (i was just watching the film 'four feathers' with my dad and we talked about the same thing there- British rule in Africa.

    The famous quote says "The sun never sets on the British Empire" to which an opponent replied "Because God doesn't trust them in the dark!!"

    Robert Fisks latest article in the independent alludes to this


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