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Muslims In Politics {comic 42}

At least the Muslim brother was kind about it.

'Muslim' and 'Political Activism' are like water and oil; if you stir fast enough you can create a strange emulsion at best. They just don't mix well in 21st century Britain, or Europe for that matter. Count how many successful and happy politically active Muslims you know. It's a tough and rough job. Despite being so, someone with ethics has to do it.

Let's clarify some definitions here: Politics relates to "activities" associated with governing bodies - the good, the bad and the ugly, and the relationships between various governments. Muslim politics is when a Muslim takes his/her Islamic understanding and devotion and studies political fields to correct existing wrongs. Both are hefty roles, both ask for allegiance to a secular authority - as a Muslim you do not have to swear allegiance to the non-Islamically elected king/queen/government, but you do have to respect and obey - and both roles ask for intellect, reason and knowledge, as well as having the stamina to stand strong opposition. However, being a 'politic' is unclean. Its connotations to deceit, scandal, propaganda, threats and lust for power are too much for the street Muslim to want to join. "Me, in Muslim politics? Er, no thank you, I want to live."

Also note that political activism is different to social activism and I would say more complex, in a dark-reading-between-the-lines way. To be socially active, you take a few hours each week to care for others: you support women's refugee groups, you sponsor orphans and educational organisations. This is local work and branches out to alleviate the hurt in your community as well as teaching you a lesson in suffering and humility. I am not as politically active, which requires for me to keep updated with the 'bff' UK Conservative-LibDem government, tolerate the BNP members' suffocation, to vote in all elections, and choose a stance on 'green issues' and fight against road tax. If there's one thing I want to end (after war and poverty and rising student fees) it's that damned road tax. Oh, also credit, interest, and capitalism...

British Muslim organisations such as MPACUK, the Muslim Public Affairs Committee create much excitement about what needs to be done as a British Muslim. They promote a drastic change in foreign policies, to rightfully boycott Zionist groups and see the corrupt political world, Middle Eastern conflicts and Islam-o-phobia come to an end before our children die. And as a Muslim I'm all for it, a step towards peace is the right step, no matter whose dirty hand you shake to get there. However, the process and attitude in this development is, well, ridiculously scary and challenging.

Another British organisation known for activism is MCB, Muslim Council of Britain and suffice to say they are less intimidating than MPACUK. While both support and educate Muslims in leadership programs and acquiring powerful skills for da`wah purposes, MCB takes a slower pace, while MPACUK throws a little more rage around. But then, you could argue, isn't there something to get angry about? In 2001 when US forces invaded Afghanistan on the premise of destroying "evil" I heard family friends count how many of their relatives were killed each month. Isn't that something to get angry about? In 2003 the United States joined hands with the United Kingdom and invaded Iraq on more false intelligence, this time to eradicate Saddam Hussein and 'Weapons of Mass destruction'. I distinctly remember hearing those bombs and screams over the radio and the extra beat in Washington's reports of world-domination. I wept when we made du`a during our morning gatherings. Wasn't that something to get angry about?

Our planet has collected a respectable amount of political-socio-economical invasions, and while on the surface it doesn't appear to directly-relate to our Muslimness, I'm telling you, it does. We British Muslims need to be more adept in taking on these political-socially active roles because the political-social arena of Britain is talking about us! Put the media aside for a moment, pretend the internet does not exist. A bunch of parliament members, professional rioters, law-makers and tyrannous leaders are making up new rules to govern us - to govern how we live. One of my favourite debatable lines from a Muslim says he/she isn't voting in such and such election because "it's haram (prohibited), it's non-Muslim and I will only live by the Shari`ah". Right. And the mortgages on our houses, the interest from our banking, the insurance on our properties, the loans and debt - that's part of the Shari`ah life? That's all halaly-dory? A Muslim believes everything is in the power of Allah and the Shari`ah is Allah's Law. As a sub-clause Muslims need to realise that our country's power is also ruling us. In our education, the rates of working wages, even where we buy our imported clothing from, the government's decisions are "king". What the h*ll is all that university education contributing towards if you're sat bone idle expecting Allah to improve your condition? Don't frame your qualifications, use them to give back to society!

There is a famous saying for the Muslim youth who have taken to political activism from the fiery soul of Malcolm 'X' himself,
“…by any means necessary. That’s our motto. We want freedom by any means necessary. We want justice by any means necessary. We want equality by any means necessary.”

I love Malcolm 'X' like I love my father or my brother, so do not be offended when I say I disagree with his statement. Yes, for the underprivileged Muslims I want to see affordable if not free education; yes, for women in the working market equal pay and treatment is a right, and yes, as a misrepresented British Muslim I want, nay, demand a just portrayal and education of what Islam is. But by any means necessary? No. If education is going to cost some students more than others, no. If equity is going to be gained 'after my dead body' then no, I will live and keep earning under oppression. If my freedom is going cost someone else's life, then no. When Malcolm said those words he broke America's social norm of 'obeying the white devil' (yeah, I said it). He was smart enough to understand his people's oppressed heritage, integration and assimilation. He was also a man of both sides - imprisonment and freedom, and he knew the tricks and influence of the greatest power on earth: the media. Compare that experience and understanding to the average politically-active 20-something year old Muslim. See what I mean?

Malcolm 'X', may Allah have mercy on him, later transitioned into brother Shabazz after performing Hajj. He has become the symbol of Muslim political activism, but his true journey has been neglected. Like any oppressed person with education he sought to free himself through mental power. Muslims today are waiting for Prophet Jesus (as) to destroy their oppression of symbolic Dajjal-isms. As a spiritual being his greatest challenge was improving himself, his character and directing his legitimate rage towards the deserving sources. The born-into-islam British Muslim is too set in his ways to change anything inwards, he thinks he's never at fault, he shouts for change on the outward only. Shabazz changed himself first, he studied his society's laws, history, language and norms, and then he went about creating a whirlwind movement. I see Muslims today with Malcolm-Shabazz's passion and drive, but the qualifications of self-improvement and a cohesive working ethic are lacking. It's mostly hot air.

The Muslim's role in any field, be it professional, volunteer work, mundane or temporary, is crucial and demands high proficiency. From the moment we take out the trash to the moments we read our children to sleep we are walking billboards of what we represent: Islam's freedom. We talk about Shari`ah as though we invented it and we want it stamped on our country for everyone, we feel it is superior than any other law. Granted, as a Muslim I feel this too. But that is now how Allah's laws are implemented. As a system of laws to lift us out of our own created oppression we have to establish the Shari`ah in our homes before we expect the government to understand it.

To 'others', the Shari`ah is presented as a set of strict punishments and lifestyle choices which forces Muslims to hate what isn't like 'them'. We know this is a incorrect image, but it's perpetuated daily. So, when we want to lift the oppression from other states we are faced with our own oppressing image: we are asked "if Islam isn't a barbaric and ancient system of severity, why are you complaining when we are helping you?" Little do the military and governments know that in their "liberation" of Muslim countries they create a civil war of oppressive aftermath. But before we can reach them, we must focus on home ground. The roles we have with our families are just as political, skillful and important as those in actual politically-charged situations.

Don't get mad, it all sounds tremendous on a global scale; protect your families, save yourself, support your community, fight crime, join unions, lift oppression and spread the Shari`ah - all in time for dinner. Asking a group of Muslim students to fight for their educational rights is easy and gets results when their thinking is applied properly. It's personal, it's internal and changes in the education system affects them. However, for example, asking all UK masjids to petition against such and such event (detainment, war, anti-Islam legislation) is much more difficult. It isn't personal: topics of legislation, national events, crime rates and political-Muslim affairs rarely reach inside the walls of masjids, so it doesn't affect masjid goers.

In the long run, as British Muslims, whatever we do individually eventually collides and ripples to create larger noise. But we cannot expect happiness buy taking anti-depressants. Real change begins when we roll up our abayas, tie back our scarves and serve the people. Serve your community, your university ISOC, the children in your family, then expand on your good citizenship - serve the homeless, the poor, the orphans you know, the widows, the disadvantaged. Before you screw up your face and think it's not enough, it is if you can accomplish it. Muslims in politics will always be a heated discussion; should we, shouldn't we, why, at what cost, for what, when? Politics will also always be discussing Muslims: who are they, where are they, what do they want, why are they here, for how long, how can we shut'em up?

Before you begin any task, you make an intention, have a plan and aim to execute it. This applies to every form of activism too. Ask yourself what/for whom your intentions are, what emotional state you're in and what you home to achieve. I'll end with Allah's heavy words to drive the points home:

"Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, 
but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, 
the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it,
 to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help]
and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; 
[those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient 
in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, 
and it is those who are the righteous." (Qur'an, 2:177)

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  1. Salaams sis. You have a good blog mashallah, how do you get so many people to view it?
    This is my blog, please check it out inshallah http://daughterofadamandeve.blogspot.com/

  2. Wa`alaykumsalam. It's not all that, I post up articles/cartoons/videos/photos of things I do/learn/see/like/break. The trick is to follow a 'theme' or topic, which readers become familiar with and react to; I don't do this. Liking your feminista blog, you have a fan! (:


Thank you. Have you read Muslimness.com?

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