Islamic Renaissance

A Voice for the Muslim Freedom Struggle

Thoughts on ‘Is Islam Being Criminalised?’ Event

is islam being criminalised

I was unable to attend the Is Islam Being Criminalised? event due to the location, however, just as the event was starting, I realised it was being streamed live so I decided to tune in and jot down some of my thoughts.

Firstly, I must commend every speaker that attended; each played their part to educate the Muslim Ummah on different aspects on the war against Islam.

Before I provide my thoughts on the event, I would like to quickly recall, to the best of my ability, what each speaker spoke about:

  • The first speaker, Nasir Hafezi, outlined government strategy,
  • The second speaker, Abdullah Andalusia, gave examples of current affairs and offered practical steps Muslims can take, comparing us to the civil rights movement in America, and stating that we must take political action such as peaceful protests, civil disobedience, debates and engage with the community,
  • The third speaker, Sheikh Suleiman, gave Islamic arguments to prove it was necessary to stop the demonisation and oppression of our community,
  • The fourth speaker, Muhammad Jhangir, gave practical examples of how government strategy works,
  • The fifth speaker, Moazzam Begg, explained that this is not a war on terror, but a war on Islam – this is apparent from the fact that no other community is being demonised and sidelined other than us,
  • The sixth speaker, Imam Haitham, spoke about the importance of being patient in times of tribulation,
  • The last speaker, Reza Pankhurst, gave practical steps we can take as individuals. He explained that Hizb Ut Tahrir are providing media training for Muslims to help us on how we can deal with responding to the media,

As we can see, it was a brilliant overview of what we face as a community and this event really helped raise awareness of the need for action.

Now at this stage, I would like to offer some of my thoughts that I believe can help solidify the message of this event, and include certain components, which I believe to be necessary. Please note that my intention is to share my analysis, and I would encourage others to also critique my thoughts, so that we can move forward and build understanding.

As an Ummah, we are well aware of the oppression facing us, every individual, to some extent, understands we are being demonised and oppressed around the world. This event helped to create urgency and a need for action.

However, I felt we could have used more detail on the practical steps and milestones that we must aim to achieve, as a community, if we are to create a movement for our freedom.

As a community, we do not have a strategic solution based upon the geopolitical context of our time. In order for people to act, they must believe that their actions will have a positive impact; they must understand how their individual roles, and their individual actions, fit in to the bigger picture.

Currently, we are individual activist trying to do ‘some good work,’ not an organised movement demanding our freedom and self-determination.

There is a process through which a movement is formed, where people are able to demand their rights, as a single unified body. The first step in creating a movement is to create a cause.

Currently, there is no CAUSE for Muslims to join, thus, we are only individual activists. To create a movement we must have a narrative. What makes a narrative different from a story is that it has a vision and thus a pathway.

Currently our story is a suicidal one, it is all about our oppression and what we have lost, but a narrative empowers a community by creating demands, a vision, inspiring them to reclaim their greatness. If this vision is broad enough, it will mean that despite our differences, we will for the first time, be able to agree on something and galvanise ourselves into a movement.

In order to galvanise their people into a movement, other oppressed communities have also used narratives in the past, thus this is a tried and tested tool that works. I was pleased to see Abdullah Andalusia mention the Civil Rights Movement, because we really need to analyse this period of history and learn from it.

Malcolm X once said, “the greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organise a sleeping people around specific goals, you have to wake the people up first and then you’ll get action.” Therefore, before our movement can become a reality, we must ensure we have awakened our people. Without politicising our community, our community will be too asleep to take action.

This event helped to do just that, to awaken our community, however, the audience were not urged to educate each other further. As we know, our community is apolitical, we are a sleeping people, asking us to take political action is futile at this stage.

We appreciate the milestones to the road to freedom is not a linear process, however, our main priority at this stage should be to create a cause, a narrative and tackle any obstacles preventing us from unifying into a movement.

Therefore, we must critically analyse what is preventing Muslims from demanding their freedom and self-determination. Upon a closer inspection, we realise that many ‘practicing’ Muslims use Islam to justify their passivity. Though Islam is a faith that demands we strive against injustice, there is a widespread belief in the Muslim community that demands that they “perfect themselves first” or “do the basics first.”

This idea is closer to western individualism, than it is to Islam. Though speakers like Sheikh Suleiman spoke about the Islamic obligation for standing up for justice and the oppressed, there were no direct refutations of such ideas, and more importantly, as part of the solutions, the audience, which was approximately 500 people at the event and another 1500 watching online, were not told about the urgency of tackling such beliefs within the Muslim community.

You see, most of the Muslim community is disillusioned by the thought that anything practical can be achieved whilst living in Britain. As we understand, this is due to a lack of our understanding of the geopolitical context we live in and the importance of the ideological war. If Muslims were to be part of a greater movement and understand how their individual roles fit into a global struggle for freedom, we would find the Muslim community more willing to act.

I hope my thoughts have benefitted the organisers of the event, and also those who attended.

Islamic Renaissance has also put forward a lecture that attempts to map out the road to freedom, and the solutions that we can work towards as a community. We would also appreciate your feedback, so that we can find a common ground as a community.