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Pressing Questions for the BBC Producers

Muslims of Britain have remained unanimous and consistent in their condemnation of the London bombings. Muslim scholars, the length and breath of this country, have drawn inspiration from the words of the Quran to criticise those responsible for this tragedy. Why then does the BBC persist in propagating the offensive verbosity against the Quran by the likes of Irshad Manji? (Newsnight 12/07/05) Is it to provide further justification for what is increasingly being perceived as the West’s onslaught on the Quran and Islam?

We do not support the attacks on London nor can we afford attacks on our source of guidance for that position. When two million Muslims declare unequivocally that the Quran has guided them to denounce these bombings, it is an absurdity to allow anyone to use the divergent opinions of a few individuals to demand from Muslims a full-scale ‘reformation’ in regard to the Quran and Islam. Irshad Manji has little or nothing in common with the cultural and spiritual traditions of the Muslim community in Britain. The BBC cannot claim that her ideas are representative by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, she has never been invited by any Muslim organisation in this country to address a Muslim audience. If anything her ideas are perceived among Muslims as selective, prescriptive, and offensive.

Selective in isolating verses from the rest of the Message to support her theory that belief in the Quran is the cause of all violence among Muslims. Prescriptive in her trying to tell Muslims what they should and should not believe, without any scholarly authority to do so, and incredibly offensive as in her recent support for the desecration of the Quran in Guantanamo Bay.

Where is the logic of the BBC in alienating all the Muslims of this country by airing flawed theories and creating tension in the wider community at a time when the need for restraint and cooperation has never been so pronounced?

Indeed, I am saddened beyond words to learn that young men from our community are now suspects in this tragedy and I hope and pray that God will guide and protect the rest of our children from such calamities. I also urge the authorities to avoid contentment with simplistic interpretations on their findings and to look very carefully into the wider possibilities of agent provocateurs being instrumental in this case. Irshad Manji’s ‘opportune’ appearance in the UK (Oxford) tonight is for me a point to ponder.

“…but if some misfortune overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if ye are patient and do right, not the least harm will their cunning do to you....” (Quran 3:120)

Shaikh Riyad Nadwi, PhD
Director, OCCRi
13th July 2005