& SPIN-Part 2
An open letter to the Muslims of the United Kingdom
From Shaikh Riyad Nadwi M.A., PhD.
2. Hijab & Spin Part 2
3. Hijab & Spin Part 1
4. OCCRi Statement
I was asked a question a few days ago which made me
realise that I owe an explanation to everyone, especially
my students, as to why I have changed my approach
with regard to political issues.Over the past ten
years here in Oxford, we have been on the receiving
end of a series of sustained attacks, ranging from
smear campaigns and agent provocateurs to ‘Fake Shaikh
Chaplaincy’ conundrums and policy intrigues, and my
advice had always been to concentrate on improving
your knowledge and practice of Islam and to ignore
political rhetoric.But within the last few weeks you
have witnessed a dramatic change in my modus operandi.I
have written an open letter criticising an Oxford
politician and I have called for him to be denounced
by Muslims all over the country.
The reason for this big shift in my approach is due
to significant changes in our circumstances as a minority
community living in the West. It is easy to ignore
the rhetoric against Islam and Muslims that emanates
from fringe groups and people in far away places,
as long as one is able to continue to practise Islam
and conduct Da’wa. However, when the attacks come
from people who represent mainstream parties in the
country, and polls begin to show a significant shift
in attitudes against our freedom to practise the very
basic and personal aspects of our faith, it becomes
incumbent upon all to stand up and speak out.This
is especially true for me as an Alim in the city which
this person represents in Parliament.I know of many
Muslims who would have voted for him.
This is not primarily about politics but it has to
do with the future of our freedom to practise Islam
in the West and, by extension, to practise Islam anywhere
in world.Having given much thought and consideration
to the long term implications of entering this debate
now, I have come to the conclusion that it is a debate
we will have to encounter sooner or later, irrespective
of whether we remain in the West or choose to migrate
to a Muslim country.The effects of decisions taken
in France can already be seen in some Muslim countries.The
grand plan, as it appears, concerns not only hijab
in Western countries but also much of what Muslims
hold sacred, wherever they happen to be.
This additional component to my approach does not
mean that I have abandoned my previous advice to you.
The objectives remain the same – the best way to defend
Islam is to practise it – but, as with so many things
in life, extraordinary situations require extraordinary
Please pray that Allah protects and guides us through
these difficult times and I request you all to participate
in this endeavour as much as you can.
Oxford, 22nd February 2004.
Brothers and Sisters
alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh
the ‘spin’ on hijab
written to you about the motives behind the ‘spin’
on hijab and having received a large number
of letters and e-mails, I have come to the conclusion
that it is necessary to write another letter to share
my thoughts on the nature of this ‘spin’ and to suggest ways in which to
deal with it both in your own minds and when speaking
to others. I apologise in advance for the length of this
letter but the gravity of the situation requires a
Allah reward all those of you who responded to my
open letter of 1st February 2004 and acted
on the advice therein.
It appears that your efforts have born fruit:
Dr Evan Harris appeared on the BBC 2 Daily Politics
programme (3rd February 2004), attempting
his way out of his attacks on the religious freedom
of children. He
also appeared on the Radio Five Live programme again
(12th February 2004) to protest his innocence.
Apparently, he now claims that he had never
argued for schools in the UK to have the right to
ban hijab, but was simply supporting the
Based on a bizarre logic, he hopes that his
new-found ‘reluctance’ to ban the religious freedom
of 2 million Muslims in Britain will exonerate him
from the crime of supporting a ban on 6 million Muslims
his defence, I had expected Dr Harris to resort to
the usual gagging charge of anti-Semitism.
However, this charge was difficult to level
against me because my message was not anti-Semitic in any way.
So it appears that he decided to take a gamble
and feed me bait.
It is a well known fact that Dr Harris is a
pro-Israel MP. He is Treasurer of the All Party
British-Israel Parliamentary Group and he was
part of a ‘Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel’
visit to Israel in June 2000. To claim that a ‘friend’ of Israel is pro-Israeli
is not a tremendous leap of faith.
bait I refer to was an audacious e-mail implying that
I was completely wrong to assume that he (Dr Evan
Harris) was a ‘pro-Israel’ MP. He wrote:
much of what is written in that open letter is factually
wrong and also misrepresents my views. In particular I would be grateful
if you could explain how you would justify the assertion
that I am ‘pro-Israel’ and - by extension
– ‘anti-Palestinian’...’ (E-mail dated 3rd
February 2004 from Dr Evan Harris).
suspect that he and his advisers were hoping I would
respond with a deluge of ethnocentric rhetoric upon
which he would be able to lay the usual charge of
our reply we ignored the bait and focused instead
on the hook. An e-mail was sent to Dr Harris stating
Dr Harris, It appears from your questioning of our,
as you put it, 'assertion', that you wish to state
that you are not ‘pro-Israel’.
If this is your official position then would
you please confirm it in unambiguous terms?’
Harris did not respond but someone replied on his
behalf with a carefully worded question.
Instead of implying that he is not pro-Israel
‘Any substantiation you may have
of the claims you make that Dr Harris is pro-Israeli
in the way you suggest.’ (My emphasis)
far we have not received any confirmation from Dr
Harris that he is not a pro-Israel MP, but he has
sent us another e-mail saying that the BBC has played
back the original Radio Five Live programme and it
could not see any basis for my allegations.
I too have played back the programme and I
beg to differ, as will anyone who pays attention to
his message as a whole in that programme. I am also keen to know who in the BBC played
back the tape and who exactly was responsible for
vetting the incoming live correspondence on the programme.
The presenter had said that they had received
an enormous amount of correspondence, yet he read
only one single-sentence e-mail against the ban, whilst
reading four lengthy e-mails and allowing an extremely
Islamophobic phone call in favour of the ban.
If any of you (Muslims) e-mailed or called
the BBC during the first Five Live programme, I would
like you to get in touch with us because we are going
to ask the BBC producers to justify the 80% e-mail
and 100% telephone bias towards the ban on hijab
in that programme. We need to know exactly how many e-mails and
phone calls they received during the programme and
who made the decision to lean so heavily towards Dr
I could be wrong, but it seemed as if the selected
correspondence was perfectly tailored to suit Dr Harris’s
regard to the first programme (29th January
2004, BBC Radio Five Live)
Dr Harris employed several ‘spin’ techniques that are used on a regular
basis to manipulate public opinion against Islam. It requires advanced planning/scripting and
the ability to use language in an unnatural and deceptive
is popularly referred to as the ‘double-speaking’ of politicians
when they are trying to please diverse audiences. In the case of Dr Harris, it is slightly more complicated, for he
is not only keen to please the audience, but one gets
the impression that there is a strong and almost irresistible
drive to emphasise the negative aspects of anything
to do with Islam and Muslims.
Along a carefully chosen path, laden with double-speak
and prevarication, there is a distinct pattern in
the choice of words, examples and areas of mental
began by widening the scope of the target, albeit
with creative language in order to secure a degree
of ‘plausible deniability’. Instead of using the word hijab, the target was described as ‘ostentatious
religious symbols of all religions in schools’. In reality, this would be the same as saying,
‘I do not support the banning of women but I do support
the banning of all XX chromosome organisms’.
At the beginning of the programme, Dr Harris
was quite successful in employing his double-speak
technique to conceal his motives.
He even secured an apology from the interviewer
with it. However, as the show progressed the act was
hard to maintain and in the end unravelled itself. Instead of telling us what he meant by ‘ostentatious’ and discussing
the ‘religious symbols in general’ that he was so
keen to emphasise at the start, Dr Harris embarked
on a multi-faceted attack on hijab.
He began by casting doubts upon the religious
validity of hijab by quoting from a fatwa issued by
Shaikh Tantawi in Egypt.
This was followed by a series of unnecessary
and opportunistic statements designed to reinforce
a stereotypical perception of Muslims in the minds
of the wider audience, for example ‘France is not
a Muslim country’. This is not earth shattering news and he had
already made his point by this stage, but by using
the sentence in this way he reinforces the anti-Muslim
perception that ‘these foreigners are trying to tell
us how to live our lives while they don’t allow us
to drink alcohol when we visit their countries’. In a similar vein, he made a reference, whilst
hedging heavily, to female circumcision, using it
to direct the discussion towards the British context
don’t allow that in this country…We are, as a state, entitled to draw a line, particularly around state institutions, schools
and particularly around minors. I have no objection absolutely to an adult
woman wearing a headscarf or indeed girls wearing
them in their own homes or out or in the mosque or
whatever’ (Dr Evan Harris, 29th January 2004, BBC Radio
Five Live) [My emphasis].
also tried to use the current legal powers afforded
to schools in the UK to justify this position by saying:
their identity as individuals is all well and good
but schools are allowed at the moment to put restrictions
on that [facial jewellery etc] and I don’t think it
is unreasonable for state schools to do that or definitely
state schools that aren’t faith schools’(Dr Evan Harris, 29th January 2004, BBC Radio
attention should be paid to the fact that he mentions
‘institutions’ before ‘schools’
and ends his list with emphasis on ‘minors’. The question we have to ask is: why is Dr Harris
so interested in our minors?
The answer to this may lie in the fact that
children who do not maintain an overt level of practice
of a given faith during their minority are much more
likely to drift away from their religious identity
in adulthood and, more importantly, they are far less
likely to teach religious traditions to their own
should be clear from these arguments put forward by
Dr Harris that the issue is hijab, not ‘ostentatious religious symbols’.
Some Muslims have accused us of making this
a Muslim issue; they have been convinced that it is
an equal attack on all religions.
They have accepted the terms of reference expounded
by the superficial ‘spin’ surrounding the debate, yet ignore
the substance of the argument put forward by proponents
of a ban (in France or the UK).
I draw people’s attention to the BBC headline
on the day of the debate for the proposed ban in France:
not ‘Debate on all religious symbols’!
As for the argument that this affects other
faiths as well, most of us should be familiar with
the concept of ‘collateral damage’, and in the same
way that we do not base our arguments against illegal
wars on the inevitability of collateral damage, we
should not allow policy ‘spinners’
to distract us away from the main objective of
classic example of double-speak was the outburst on
the topic of hijab by the writer Toby Young on the BBC’s
Question Time programme (12th February
2004). Having begun by saying, ‘it is such a difficult
question to answer because it [banning hijab] seems like such an illiberal, intolerant thing to do’, he goes
to on say:
‘Muslim school girls at the moment don’t have the option
of whether or not to wear head scarves, because if
they don’t, members of their own community, in some
cases their brothers and their fathers, will brutalise
them, in some cases rape them.
The persecution of women who don’t tow the
conservative, hard-line, Muslim fundamentalist line,
in these communities is appalling…’
on this analysis, he concludes that the hijab
is a ‘symbol of just how oppressed women are in these
communities’ and that Muslim women get ‘stoned to
death if they are suspected of adultery’. He then rounds off his comment by confirming that what the French
government is aiming to do via the ban is to address
the oppression of Muslim women in our communities.
Faced with these conclusions, should we respond
to him by insisting that this is not about Muslims,
but that it concerns all ‘ostentatious religious symbols’? I think not.
charge of ‘conspiracy theorist’ has, of course, been
levelled at me. However, it has not come as expected from the
pro-Israel activists, but from a Muslim website. It rather strangely described my letter as ‘excellent’, even requesting
permission to publish it, only then to replace it with a
barrage of criticisms before charging me with being
a ‘conspiracy theorist’ six days later
issue of ‘conspiracy’ is a complex one and deserves
some attention. In my observations of people’s attitudes towards
this issue, they seem to fall into two broad categories
and position themselves at one of the two extremes.
At one are those who read conspiracies into
everything whilst leaving very little room for Allah
and His plans. I
find these people exceedingly frustrating as they
are despondent because they fail to grasp the complexities
of our world, the sophistication of human nature and,
more importantly, Allah’s ever present and gracious
power over all forces and plans.
Allah says in the Quran ‘...They plot and
plan and Allah too plans. But the best of planners is Allah’ (Al-Anfal 8:30).
said that, I find those at the other extreme equally
frustrating. These are the ‘accident theorists’: people
who would like you to believe that all occurrences
in our world are random, arbitrary and accidental.
From the Big Bang to the Big Crunch and everything
between the two, they refuse to accept the existence
of any propensity in human beings to cooperate with
one another in secrecy, and deny the existence of
something known more popularly as ‘strategic planning’.
These are the people who live in the bliss
of ignorance, and revel in showing condescension to
those who refuse to join them in placing their heads
in the sand. For them, the pro-Israel activists are innocent
victims of Muslim paranoia.
Little do they realise the extent to which
they are influenced, directly and indirectly, by the
of pro-Israel activists such as Daniel Pipes and others.
of these extreme positions are unhealthy for the mind
and are counter-productive for a vibrant and progressive
mind stagnates with the oversimplifications made by
both groups. As
Muslims we need to maintain a healthy balance between
paranoia and naivety, acknowledging the possibility
and probability of strategic planning, especially
when the evidence is overwhelming.
We cannot allow our minds to be kept in a straight
jacket, fettered by the fear of being labelled conspiracy
theorists or anti-Semitic.
We should not become pawns in a global mind
game designed and controlled by others.
We must consider what it would mean for the
pro-Israel activists to be given a guarantee that
Muslims will not question their motives, and whenever
someone does, that he or she would be dismissed promptly
as a conspiracy theorist by other Muslims. Fortunately, Muslims have a strong sense of
history and are able to see through ‘spin’
to recognise the ulterior motives, such as when
the ‘spin’ doctors use ‘militant Islam’
and ‘Islam’ interchangeably. We know what they mean when they say, ‘There
are no moderates’.
do we blame Israel
people ask, ‘Why do we blame Israel for everything?’ I say to them, we do not blame-Israel for everything.
Indeed, we have numerous faults of our own
that we must recognise.
However the frequency of interference from
the pro-Israel activists in our affairs, and the reactions
they receive, have caused it to appear that way.
If they are allowed to continually blame and
stigmatise entire communities (Muslims) and countries
for the actions of a few, and if they are justified
in their cherry-picking from our jurisprudential sources
in an attempt to dictate the terms of our commitment
to Islam, then we are certainly entitled to explore
their motivations for this obsession with the
details of our faith. For example, we
are entitled to ask why there are so many pro-Israel
activists at the forefront of this exercise.
It is also not unreasonable to ask why someone
who argues that ‘just as Muslims rule an undivided
Mecca, Jews should rule an undivided Jerusalem’, is also concerned about Muslim
children and our schools in the West. It is not by accident that it has become fashionable
to bash everything to do with Islam and practicing
Muslims in the West within a span of less than three
apart from the expediency that 9/11 offered to their
cause, there has been a tremendous effort from pro-Israel
activists to propagate their spurious theories about
have done this by being bold, loud
and persistent with ‘spin’.
It is time for us to respond by being equally
bold, loud and persistent with the truth.
people have written to warn me that Israel often assassinates
those who criticise her injustices.
Well, if that is the price we must pay, then
so be it
soul shall taste of death before completing its sustenance...’
order to prevent an escalation of attacks on our faith,
and protect our future in these countries, it is crucial
that we stand up and call people’s attention to the
fact that the same ‘spin’
which may have taken this country and others to war
might also have a part to play in fashioning their
fear of Islam and Muslims.
There is an overwhelming body evidence to show
that the ‘spin’ against Islam in the current global
situation is spear-headed by pro-Israel activist
theorists’ who deny the existence of strategic
planning, the following passage needs to be carefully
considered in the context of similar attitudes that
are expressed on a regular and structured basis by
the Neo-Conservative and pro-Israel activists around
‘Demographic, socio-economic, political and
cultural-psychological shifting processes, together
with the importance of a few rulers, assure instability
in most of the domain of Islam, with much anti-Western
insurgence. At the same time, technological and military
capacities of Islamic actors are increasing, soon
including mass killing weapons with global reach.
Therefore, in the twenty-first century insurgent Islam
in its aggressive and fanatic forms of state and non-state
actors will pose a major threat to the West and humanity
as a whole. Hence the need for a long-term grand-strategy
to prevent, contain and counter-act it. Main components
recommended for such a grand-strategy include: (1)
relating respectfully to Islam; (2) selective accommodation,
with red lines; (3) helping socio-economic
development; (4) curbing aggressive actors; (5) reducing
aggressive capacities; (6) holding states and rulers
strictly accountable; (7) damage limitation; and (8)
if all fails: moving towards a Global Leviathan. To
work out and apply the grand strategy to shifting
situations, much shared strategic thinking and planning
by the West is needed in cooperation with other major
countries and civilizations and with non-aggressive
Islamic states, together with preparation of fitting
action capabilities. The USA, together with the European
Union, has to take the lead in doing so. Tragic
but imperative is the necessity to adjust Western
values so as to adopt ‘immoral’ measures, so as to
avoid greater moral evil. But, first of all, fanatic
Islam must be recognized as a serious threat justifying
determined counter-action within a coherent fully
considered and carefully applied grand strategy.’
(Yehezkel Dror, Facing
insurgent Islam: A grand strategy for the West)
needs only to read the Neo-Conservative literature
to be ‘enlightened’. Most policy considerations, especially those
concerning Islam, are all linked back to the need
to protect and support Israel.
Yet conversely, we are being told not to question
the motivations of the likes of Richard Perle when
he makes the detailed composition of the educational
syllabus in the Muslim world a focus for his attentions! I suggest those Muslims who are still in denial
should spend some of their time learning about the
ideas of people like Laurent Murawiec, William Kristol,
Robert Kagan, Joshua Muravchik, Martin van Creveld,
Meyrav Wurmser, David Wurmser, Douglas J. Feith, Colonel
Yigal Carmon, Norman Podhoretz, Eliot Cohen, Midge
Decter, Frank Gaffney, William Safire, Charles Krauthammer,
Stephen Schwartz, Simon Henderson, Joseph Lieberman
average person in this country is looking for an answer:
he/she wants to know why the USA and Britain went
to war. People
are far more perceptive than they are given credit
for. In the
same way, the truth about the motivation for attacking
Muslims will replace the artificial fear and ‘spin’
about Islam if we able to muster the courage to be
bold, reasonable and persistent.
However, I fear that if we are unfortunate
enough to have Muslims who are willing to stand up
to defend the pro-Israel activists from valid criticisms,
and to dismiss reasonable voices as conspiracy theory,
then the momentum of attacks on every aspect of what
it is to be Muslim from these quarters will only increase
strongly believe that the fear of being dismissed
must be weighed against the tremendous opportunity
that silence provides for the pro-Israel activists
to continue their attacks on Islam and Muslims with
impunity. In my ten years here in Oxford, I have tried my utmost to avoid
conflicts of this sort.
But my restraint did not prevent them from
launching sustained and multi-faceted attacks on every
aspect of the Muslims’ activities, to the extent that
they began objecting to our proclamation of faith
(The Kalimah). A few years ago, a pro-Israel activist came
up with an argument to ban the Kalimah because
it was, in his opinion, ‘too dismissive of other gods’
and should therefore not be displayed in a university
continental Europe, the hijab
has been banned but it will not end there.
The objective, it seems, is to force an artificial
reformation within Islam, which will encompass everything
from the way we think about the Quran, to the food
we eat and the clothes we wear.
I have come to the conclusion that this psycholinguistic
war is being led largely by fervent pro-Israel activists
and the only way to stop it is to challenge the ‘spin’
head on, whilst asking legitimate questions about
their motivation. If they have the right to question our motives by cherry-picking
verses of the Quran, then we should have the right
to respond with a similar level of scrutiny.
They may do what they wish to their own faith
but Islam is our faith and we will decide what it
is and how we practise it.
We do not need the treasurer of the all-party
British-Israel Parliamentary Group to present us with
a fatwa from half way around the world to justify
the uncovering of our daughters.
We have scholars here in this country who are
more than capable of providing us with guidance on
the importance of hijab in Islam.
people have asked as to why I singled out the Lib
Dems when they were the only party to oppose the war
on Iraq. My
response is that we should not forget that the French
government – that has just banned hijab – was also a fierce opponent of the
we therefore refrain from criticising the French also? No, I don’t think so either. We need to go beneath the surface of this divide
and examine the reasons for these different attitudes
towards the Iraq war.
On the one hand, many supporters of the war
were obviously aiming to provide long term security
for Israel and at the same time secure control of
oil reserves. But on the other hand, many of those who opposed the war did so
not because they wanted to protect innocent
Iraqis, but because of their fear of Islam.
For them, Saddam Hussein’s extreme secularist
ideology, with its barbaric track record, deserved
protection against the then slim possibility of Islam
surfacing in Iraq.
Calming the fear that Islam (rather than Saddam’s
secularism) would be on the rise, the Californian
Democratic representative Tom Lantos said, candidly,
to an Israeli member of the Knesset ‘You
won't have any problem with Saddam. We'll be rid of
the b*****d soon enough. And in his place we'll install
a pro-Western dictator, who will be good for us and
for you.’ (Akiva Eldar, Ha'aretz,
30th September 2002).
criticism of the Lib Dems concerned the contrasting
treatment of Jenny Tonge and Dr Harris. For being a voice of reason, Jenny Tonge was
sacked from the front bench.
However Dr Harris’s unacceptable inference
that schools should have the right to ban hijab in the UK, didn’t result in even
a reprimand from the party leadership.
Leader of the Party, Charles Kennedy, succumbed to
pressure from the pro-Israel activists in the case
of Jenny Tonge. My
demand was for consistency.
Had this occurred in any other party my response
would have been the same. My main objective was to defend our freedom to practise Islam in
this country. A
further source of anger within the community is the way Dr Harris,
in his second appearance on BBC Radio Five Live, chose
to go on the attack and claim that he had never supported
a ban on hijab in the UK (see quote three paragraphs below). He urged Muslims to ‘debate the issues…play
the ball, not the man’ and not to antagonise people
[like himself] who ‘agree with you [Muslims] on practically
every issue’. Some important points need to be made concerning this ‘spin’:
Dr Harris has to address whether he has now retracted
his earlier view, as expressed in his first Five Live
appearance (and quoted in this letter), which clearly
makes a case for the State drawing a line around state
institutions, schools and minors. He must clarify whether he intends to continue
and double-speak to attack practising Muslims in this
country and around the world.
As for being a friend of the Muslim community and
agreeing with us on ‘practically every issue’, this
does not stand up to the slightest scrutiny.
Indeed, Dr Harris is a well-known supporter
of banning faith-based schools in the UK.
We do not believe Ariel Sharon when he says he wants
the Israeli government to leave the occupied territories.
Why should we believe Dr Harris when he says the same
concern caused by this silence of the Party leadership
is amplified when one considers the history of the
Neo-Conservative influence in the United States.
A large number of the first-generation Neo-Conservatives
were liberal Democrats, or even socialists and Marxists,
often Trotskyites. They drifted to the right in the 1960s and 1970s as the Democratic
Party moved to the anti-war McGovernite left.
“One major factor that drew
them inexorably to the right was their attachment
to Israel and their growing frustration during the
1960s with a Democratic party that was becoming increasingly
opposed to American military preparedness and increasingly
enamoured of Third World causes (e.g., Palestinian
have also been asked why I did not refer in my letter
to the violation of human rights in the context of
banning hijab. I think we need to realise that this debate
is not merely about the law.
Relying solely on relatively static legal arguments
in a fluid psycholinguistic war is not only naive
but futile, as we have seen in France.
Every French politician who voted for the ban
did so in full knowledge of the human rights legislation.
I suspect that they voted as they did (ostensibly
against the grain of human rights) primarily because
their perspectives have become dominated by the preponderance
of ‘spin’ surrounding Muslims and Islam.
In addition, these laws are open to wide interpretation,
and can be easily changed or manipulated to suit emerging
conditions and changing perceptions.
One need only look at the implications of the
Patriot Act in America on human rights legislation
to appreciate this point. Our primary focus should be to defend ourselves from the onslaught
by challenging it with solid arguments and exposing
the motives of those who create and propagate it
the truth of this strategy was ever doubted, the Muslim
community should note the unprovoked legal defence
of the French ban put forward by Dr Harris during
his second Five Live appearance.
‘I am not supporting a ban on the hijab, I am supporting the French decision – because they have a constitution
that refers to secularism in their schools – and I even would only support
the French decision if it was compliant with the Human
The Vice-President of the European Court
of Human Rights has said that he thinks it
[the French decision] would be because it doesn’t restrict the
right to religious worship or belief but there’s a
state policy that wants to restrict some degree of
freedom of expression in respect of religious wearing
of clothes in schools. We have that protection, that fallback in Western
Europe of the European Convention on Human Rights…
My concern about the British situation is that, in
schools of all places, we should not be discriminating
against people on the basis of their religion...’
note that the Muslim representative of IACN, who appeared
on the same Five Live programme as Dr Harris, did
not mount any challenge to the legal position put
forward by Dr Harris.
This contrasts with the IACN public criticism
of my article because
‘The ban on hijab
is a blatant violation of the European Convention
on Human Rights and that would have been sufficient
grounds to argue the case.’ And ‘laws that are being violated through this
would be a much better focus for the UK Muslims’
(IACN mailing list,
9th February 2004
the Vice-President of the European Court of Human
Rights thinks no laws are being broken.
I do not mention this in order to antagonise,
as the brothers at IACN appear to be sincere Muslims,
but rather to highlight the futility of a response
based merely upon interpretations of law.
The nature of the ‘spin’
principal arguments advanced by the ‘spin doctors’
with regard to hijab (thus far) are:
Secularism is at risk
Ostentatious religious symbols are offensive
School is no place for religion
Muslim girls, by virtue of wearing hijab, are reflecting
their fathers’ view rather than their own
Hijab is not sanctioned by the Quran
Some Muslim scholars say hijab is not necessary
(e.g. Shaikh Tantawi)
Hijab is a threat to national cohesion
Hijab was banned in Turkey - A Muslim country
Most Muslims in France support the ban
Hijab is a symbol of radicalism
ten arguments are all carefully designed to divert
attention away from the absurdity of the original
suggestion (to ban hijab) by indulging
the audience in discussions that are peripheral and
in many cases irrelevant.
It is important that we refrain from allowing
doctors to set the parameters of the debate, especially
when they are the ones inventing the problems in the
first place. We
have to develop a conscious defence against ‘designer’
arguments and terminology.
needs to be made clear that the actual proposition
is to force young girls to remove a piece of clothing
and thus reveal parts of their bodies that they do
not wish to expose in public.
The symbolic value of hijab
is secondary to its functional and primary purpose,
which is to cover a significant part of the body.
The whole debate about religious symbols is
irrelevant until we discuss the primary purpose of
It appears that all fathers from all cultures
are allowed to be protective towards their daughters
except Muslim fathers. Let us turn the argument on its head and ask
how many French fathers, irrespective of their religious
persuasion, would tolerate it if someone were to say
to them: ‘We want your daughter to reveal in public more of her body than she
is currently showing because we find her covering
offensive’. This is the question we should have been asking
from day one.
addition, the question to what extent the human body
should be exposed, and in what way it should be exposed,
is a valid and hotly debated issue in Western society. The heart of this debate lies in who decides
where the line should be drawn between decency and
vulgarity. In a land of equals, no one should be told
how much of his or her body can or cannot be exposed,
say the nudists. Others argue that ‘experts’ should be the ones
who decide, whoever they
may be. But
even if people argue that in many cases it is the
government that decides by consensus what is acceptable
in terms of decency and what is not, the debate has
seldom been about forcing people to wear less;
it is most often about forcing people to wear more
(e.g. the nudists are forced to wear clothes etc).
stand apart from both of these poles by defaulting
to the guidance of their Creator. As for the list of ten arguments used to ‘spin’ attention away from the real issue,
I believe we need to be cognisant of the following:
Is Secularism really at risk?
live in a multi-cultural and multi-faith society in
which secularism is the dominant ideology.
To all intents and purposes, secularism is a ‘belief
system’ in its own right with its own sacred texts,
prophets, high priests and evangelists. The towering
edifice of secularism in Western democracies above
all other belief systems is growing day by day with
the increasing retreat of the Church from the lives
and minds of the masses. A recent ICM poll conducted
for the BBC suggests that the UK is among the most
secular nations in the world. The results of the
poll confirmed that levels of belief and religious
activity in the UK are consistently lower than in
many other countries. In fact, only Russia and South
Korea produced results similar to the UK
. The suggestion that the headscarf of a minuscule
percentage of children constitutes a danger to secularism,
whilst the entire curriculum in schools remains firmly
grounded in secularist ideology, is a totally fallacious
proposition but a clever piece of ‘spin’. A pertinent fact to note here is that this is not the first
time secularism has been used in conjunction with
more fervent religious ideology and goals. The founders
of Israel also declared themselves to be secularists
and atheists, whilst at the same time laying claim
to land based entirely on their interpretation of
Biblical text. It is this interpretation of Biblical
text that remains at the heart of the justification
for usurping Palestinian lands with impunity until
Ostentatious? What does it mean?
adjective is derived from the Latin ostentationem
(nom. ostentatio), which means ‘vain display’.
In modern usage it is often employed to describe
extravagant, excessive, vulgar or pretentious display
and boastful showiness.
The word is not only pejorative connotatively
but all of its denotations are surrounded by explicit
negative semantic fields. The first question we need to ask here is: why do some people perceive
offensive while others clearly do not?
One reason, of course, is insecurity in one’s
own belief system. However, the other reason, which I believe is the dominant one in
this current crisis, is the preponderance of ‘spin’ that has an ulterior motive. As we have seen, the pro-Israel activists are keen to force into
existence an artificial reformation of Islam.
Covering the head with a plain piece of cloth
is far less ostentatious than a fashionable hairstyle
that can cost more than £50 per week in a beauty salon.
The word ‘ostentatious’, with its meanings
of extravagance and showiness, is far more applicable
to the competitive teenage culture from which emanates
the pressure to choose from over four thousand teenage
anything, the simplicity of hijab
places it in stark contrast to this.
Wearing hijab is, in fact, the polar opposite of ostentation but sadly this
is the nature of the upside-down world of ‘spin’.
Schools are no place
principle, such as this is trying to be, must be applied
with uniformity, if it is to be applied at all.
If we believe that banning hijab
will keep religion out of schools then we need to
think again. Hijab
is not the only overt religious component in the identity
of a Muslim. Food, names and behaviour are also conspicuous components. The question is, if we accept that schools
should be free from all explicit aspects of religiosity
then it would mean that children should not be allowed
to bring halal food into school or consume it on the
the arguments against hijab
are applicable to halal food, as halal food is defined
by religious guidance and is visible and different
from non-halal food.
The same applies to general conduct: a Muslim
girl may want to avoid holding hands with boys in
a playground game because of her religious upbringing. According to the above principle, she must
be forced into holding hands, for if not she would
be guilty of practising religion on school premises.
I wonder how many Jewish parents would agree
to a ban on the consumption of kosher food in schools? Or how many Christian parents would agree to
a ban on Christmas trees in schools?
Or a ban on nativity plays or Easter eggs?
spurious argument is rooted in ‘spin’
rather than common sense.
Religion plays a much larger role in people’s
lives than merely the garments they wear. The entire thesis of separation between religion
and school is questionable. While some people campaign for schools and
other institutions to be sterile from anything to
do with religion, the extreme secularists are constantly
trying to increase their interference in the private
and personal affairs of religion: the clothes we should
wear, our choice of religious figures, the level of
our religious conviction, the interpretation of our
sacred texts and our attitudes towards them, the structures
of our scholastic authentication mechanisms, our methods
of teaching religion, our attitudes towards tradition,
our rituals, and the list continues. It appears from the evidence that these secularists
wish to rid the world of what they call ‘organised
In its place we are expected to practise a
‘disorganised religion’ with maximum interference from them,
to the extent that they even dictate to us our choice
of clothes and the syntax of our kalimah.
Muslim girls, by
virtue of wearing hijab,
are reflecting their fathers’ view rather than their
from all backgrounds, be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish
or ‘Secular’, in terms of their appearance and behaviour,
often reflect the views of their fathers and
This ‘novel’ concept is called parenting.
Every Friday night in homes across the United
Kingdom and beyond there are thousands of fathers
who protest over the skimpiness of skirts and blouses
when their daughters leave for the night clubs.
It is a natural human instinct for parents
to be protective towards their daughters and particularly
the extent to which their daughters expose their bodies
in public. Dr
Harris quotes from the results of the study conducted
by the Commission in France, which recommended the
found that in many cases girls were being forced to
wear [the hijab], to cover their hair, by the men in their community, and I
think that France recognises that in school, at least,
girls should be free from that sort of cultural persuasion’
(Sunday Herald Online, 17th January
that Dr Harris and others have found no qualms to
justify what he calls ‘freedom from cultural persuasion’
– i.e., preventing parents from having a say in the
appearance and behaviour of their children whilst
in school – I believe it is necessary to remind him
and his friends of the secular family law in this
country (which is not dissimilar to that of most Western
of parents are guaranteed through ‘Parental Responsibility’
even when children are in school.
The Latey Committee accepted that disciplinary
rules in colleges could only be justified by reference
to the concept of in loco parentis. The Children Act 1989 defines a child as ‘a
person under the age of eighteen’.
According to the Act, children under 18 may
not enter betting shops or be tattooed. Children under 17 may not purchase crossbows and those under 16 cannot obtain
the ‘morning-after pill’ without prescription or buy a National Lottery ticket.
We argue that these are all rationalised by
the aim of preventing harm to children because of
their presumed inability to make wise decisions. In the same way, Muslims will argue that hijab is a means of preventing harm.
The harm is two fold: spiritual and perceptual.
We do not allow children to purchase lottery
tickets because of the long-term dangers this practice
could have on the child’s character.
Muslims believe, and people are free to disagree,
that excessive exposure of the body has long-term
negative consequences on the identity of female Muslims.
Muslim girls, and naturally their parents,
should have the freedom to choose.
Hijab is not
sanctioned by the Quran
Quran was not sent down on its own. It was revealed to the Prophet (SAWS) who exemplified
its teachings. His
entire character was based on the Quran and so is
the guidance he gave to his companions.
This body of knowledge is conveyed to us in
an unbroken chain of scholastic authority that has
survived the test of time and continues to play its
role in the modern world. As time progresses and needs change, the scholars
of these traditions decide, after rigorous consideration
and with an acceptable level of consensus, on the
importance of certain aspects of religious practice.
This is certainly not the territory of self
appointed pseudo-experts or freelance activists with
their own political motivations.
Hijab is one of the inalienable aspects
of practice by virtue of being rooted in clear textual
Guidance. Allah says in Quran:
ما ظهر منها
say to the believing women that they should lower
their gaze and guard their modesty: that they should
not exhibit their beauty and adornment except what
(must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should
draw their khimar over their bosoms and not exhibit
their beauty …’(Al-Nur
Tell your wives and your daughters and the
women of the believers to draw their Jilbab above
themselves (when they go out). That is better
so that they may be recognised and not molested.
And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.’(Al-Ahzab,
meaning khimar and jilbab, and the precise parameter of their function
is clearly explained by the Prophet (SAWS) in the
hadith narrated by Abu Dawood on the authority of
Aishah (RA), who said: ‘Asma the daughter of Abu Bakr
(r) came to see the Prophet (SAWS) wearing a thin
dress. He turned away from her and said: ‘O Asma, once a woman
reaches the age of puberty, no part of her body should
be seen but this – and he pointed to his face and
Some Muslim scholars
say it is not necessary (e.g. Sh. Tantawi)
the difficulties we have had recently with the misuse
of ‘global reach fatwas’, I think it would be wise
to pay more attention to the actual spirit of this
purpose of ‘Iftaa’ is to deal with emerging situations
faced by Muslims in different contexts.
There is a list of criteria that must be met
before a fatwa is issued.
One of those prerequisites is to be ‘basiran
bi makr al-nas’, ‘conscious of the trickery of
those who seek fatwa’, which falls under the
broader requirement of ‘ma’rifatu al-wad’a’, ‘familiarity with the context’. One’s theoretical knowledge may be of the highest standard but failure
to recognise the complexity of a given situation or
the motive of a leading question can result in serious
misjudgement. In this instance, with all due respect for the Honourable Shaikh
Tantawi, if he decrees, directly or indirectly, that
hijab is not a requirement for Muslims living in non-Muslim countries,
I believe his fatwa would be wrong and I know that
the vast majority of recognised Muslim scholars around
the world would agree with me on this point.
Hijab is a
threat to national cohesion
there such a thing as national cohesion when it comes
to dress, anywhere in the world?
Perhaps long ago in Chairman Mau’s China but
today this is far from the case. Just a tiny survey of variation in dress sense conducted at two
primary schools in Oxford revealed some 18 different
styles of dressing among children.
They ranged from ‘baggy boy’
to ‘sleek man’ and ‘bling girl’ to ‘posh witch’. This argument is nothing but a clever piece of ‘spin’.
Perhaps an extract from the newsletter (23rd
January 2004) of the National Secular Society, to
which Dr Harris has so proudly stated his affiliation
as an Honorary Associate, will shed more light on
this strange need for cohesion.
is under sustained threat from a resurgent Islam -
and not just in France. In this country, too, it is becoming difficult
to even discuss minority religions in critical terms
without landing in trouble.
We need to resist. We can only do that if we are an organisation
with a significant body of support. That's why we
need you to join. We will never be taken seriously
unless enough people are prepared to stand shoulder
to shoulder and make this a movement to be reckoned
with…’ (National Secular Society Newsletter 23 Jan
Newsletter was published prior to the first BBC Five
Live programme and therefore it would be reasonable
to assume that it was intended to prepare the public
for the launch of Dr Harris’s attack on hijab and
pre-empt criticisms from Muslims.
Special attention should be paid to the first
sentence: the threat is from Islam and not ‘ostentatious
As a community we need to know how many more
secular and right wing organisations are strongly
influenced by pro-Israel activists?
Most Muslims in
France support the ban
is blatant propaganda based on questionable statistics. Muslims in France sadly find themselves between a rock and hard
out about something that is clearly set to become
law in an increasingly hostile Islamophobic environment
is not an easy task.
If someone walks up to you in the street and
pushes a camera in your face and asks point blank
‘do you support the ban’, it is likely that many Muslims
would have said ‘I don’t know’
or ‘yes’ out of fear for their future in France.
There were several calls to repatriate those
who want to wear the hijab if they insisted on it. The sanction of immigration is a very powerful
and compelling stick with which to beat migrants into
submission. Aside from that, Muslim women with hijab are facing hardship in many everyday
have been forced to take off their hijab
in court rooms, hospitals, etc.
There are cases of Muslim women being denied
access to hospitals, clinics, banks and shops because
they were wearing hijab. I personally know of many cases of well-qualified
Muslim women (including French reverts) who have been
forced to leave France and come to Oxford because
the only jobs they could get in France were as toilet
cleaners, simply because they wore a head scarf. This is the context behind the compilation
of such statistics.
We will be examining the details of the CSA/Le
Parisien survey that appeared in the Economist (February 7th-13th
edition) and in particular, who commissioned the poll. We need to know if the data has been subjected
to inferential statistical analysis.
Hijab was banned
in Turkey - A Muslim country
suggestion is that if the Muslims in Turkey are happy
with a hijab ban there, then why are Muslims complaining
about a similar ban in a non-Muslim country? If the Muslims in Turkey ‘could not muster
enough public support’ (or so we are led to believe)
to stop the secularists there from banning hijab,
why should Muslims then object to a ban in Western
countries? These are spurious arguments. The
truth is that there has never been popular support
for a hijab ban in Turkey and it is common knowledge
that if there were to be a referendum on the issue,
the ban would be lifted.
So why does a ban exist at all?
The reason is that the military in Turkey are
secular extremists and yield phenomenal power. Hijab
was banned in Turkey without popular support among
Muslims and down the barrel of a gun.
Is this the kind of example proponents of a
ban want Western countries to follow?
Hijab is a
symbol of radicalism
doctors have been relatively successful in scaring
large parts of the Western world into believing that
Islam is a global suicide cult. They claim that Islam is a relic from the past
and should not be allowed to exist (at least without
an artificial reformation) in the modern world.
What this argument fails to explain is how
Islam managed to survive the changes of the ages and
continue to become ever more widespread in the modern
world? One quarter of the world’s population is Muslim.
Islam is a faith with fourteen hundred years
of history. Were
we all to be suicidal fanatics, as some would have
everyone believe, the Muslims would have ceased to
exist on the face of the planet, hundreds of years
ago. We would have become extinct by now. If murder and suicide were intrinsic teachings
of the Quran we would have preceded the Reverend Jim
Jones’ suicide cult record by a thousand
is just anther word the ‘spin’
doctors use to describe practising Muslims.
is not specific to any particular group or sect; it
is a universal practice among all sections of the
Muslim community worldwide.
Admittedly there are some Muslim women who
do not wear the hijab but most of them also, at least until recently, recognise its
importance in Islam.
word of caution to the Muslim Youth in Britain
know that there are many of you who are very concerned
about the oppression of Muslims around the world and
you are justified in your anger and frustration.
I stand with you in sharing that concern.
However, you should bear in mind that nothing
would please the pro-Israel activists around the world
more than to see an ‘attack’ on innocent men, women
and children in this country perpetrated by Muslims.
Britain has one of the strongest Muslim communities
in the world. Many of the freedoms we have here to practice
our faith are not available in some Muslim countries. We have all seen the reports of the Israelis
who were arrested for dancing and celebrating on the
roof tops in New York when the planes struck the towers. Please think about the joy you will bring to
Sharon and his followers on the one hand, and the
consequences to the Muslim community in this country
and beyond on the other, if you embark on such a course.
is not improbable that the person who might approach
you in a mosque and try to convince you to do something
of this sort will be an agent provocateur. These are individuals who are sent within communities
in order to push naive members of that community ‘over
the edge’ in order to serve the purpose of an external
body or group of people.
way to protect Islam and our future is to practise
it. We must make use of the legal channels available to challenge these
attacks on our right to practise Islam.
I also think we should be alert and respond
in unison to this sort of ‘spin’ on Islam whenever it surfaces. Do
not allow the likes of Dr Harris to get away with
double-speaking on this or any other issue. I believe that one of the major reasons he is publicising his views
on talk shows and debates is to shift public opinion
in this country against practising Muslims. It is also important to note that there
are a few misguided ‘Muslim’ organisations in the
UK that are providing more material for the ‘spin’
doctors to use against us.
They are doing a disservice to the community
and should be avoided at all costs. The damage they cause is similar to that of
those self-appointed pseudo-scholars amongst us who
believe that the best way to defend Islam is to give
up faith in the Quran and pour scorn on our scholastic
I would like to return to where I began and that is
to raise awareness about the danger of complacency.
In April 2002 the Israeli army besieged the
Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem for weeks.
Eventually they used explosives to gain entry
by blowing up one of its doors.
The reaction in the Christian world was little
more that a whimper. This, I believe, is what the pro-Israel activists
hope an artificial reformation imposed on Muslims
in Europe via France, and on the Arab world via Iraq,
will eventually achieve. They hope that a day will come when they will
be able to demolish Masjid al-Aqsa without
fear of protest from Muslims around the world.
This will only happen if we neglect the Quran
and its teachings. My advice is that you make a firm commitment,
now more than ever before, to dedicate time and effort
to learning and practising your faith.
Set aside forty minutes every day, if you can,
to read the Quran. Find a teacher who will help you improve your
reading and study the biographies of the Prophet (SAWS),
his companions and those who followed in their footsteps.
The sisters of our community in particular
should consider very carefully the long-term implications
of their decisions. As I mentioned above, one of the arguments
used by the politicians in France was that many Muslims
do not really care about hijab.
Please do not let your temporary lapse in obeying
Allah in this matter become a source of justification
for banning it. If
that should occur then we may all have to shoulder
the burden on the Day of Judgement.
as we do in this century, we have missed the opportunity
to become companions of our beloved – the Prophet
Muhammad (SAWS), Rahmatul li al-‘alamin. But we do have the opportunity to learn and
practise his message, and become companions of the
ibn Umar relates that the Messenger (on who be peace)
said that the Companion of the Quran would be told:
‘read the Quran slowly as you used to do on Earth,
and continue to climb the stages of Paradise. Your
highest station will be at the last verse you shall
the pressures of living in the modern world, you can
still become a hafiz, a preserver of the Quran, in four
to five years. All
it will take is a little discipline and giving up
half the time spent watching television.
suggest a new wave of letter writing should begin. Both the media and politicians should receive
your detailed letters of concern.
I must stress that the debate is far from over
and people should refrain from falling into the trap
of feeling triumphant over extremely shallow achievements.
Hundreds of Muslims in Oxford have signed a
petition in opposition to Dr Harris’s comments. They do not think this matter has been brought
to a ‘conclusion’ as suggested by some. Charles Kennedy cannot simply dodge the issue by claiming to be
surprised in a private e-mail while Dr Harris continues
to march on in his campaign to turn public opinion
in this country against practising Muslims.
Charles Kennedy’s office sent an e-mail to
some Muslims saying:
‘…it must be emphasised that Dr Harris was speaking in
a purely personal capacity; his views on supporting
the head scarf ban are not party policy.
As a backbench MP, Dr Harris is entitled to
express his opinions in a manner he sees fit - he
is not subject to the political and parliamentary
constraints that frontbench spokespeople for the Party
[Mr Kennedy] was surprised by his comment…’
(E-mail from Charles Kennedy’s Aide, Siân Norris-Copson, 12th February 2004).
is by no measure a success. At the very least, we should demand a public pronouncement from
Charles Kennedy that he disagrees with the views of
Dr Harris and a positive commitment that his party
will demonstrate firm opposition to any moves to ban
hijab in this country either now, or in
the future. It
should be noted that there are many Muslims who have
received no response at all to their e-mails from
Charles Kennedy on this issue.
Harris is not ‘merely’ an obscure back bench MP. Until recently (13th October 2003)
Dr Harris was the Liberal Democrat front bench spokesman
on Health. Dr Harris is currently the Liberal Democrat
spokesman on Higher Education, Science and Women
and is a member of the important House of Commons
Education Select Committee. Mr Kennedy must explain if he was also acting
in a ‘personal capacity’ when he took action against
Jenny Tonge for her reasonable comments in favour
of the Palestinians.
around the country should form local groups to keep
the community informed and coordinate with Muslims
in other cities. Mr Kennedy should also make public the names
of those in the Labour and Conservative parties who
wrote to him demanding action against Jenny Tonge.
Mr Kennedy cited such pressures as having a
bearing on his decision with respect to Jenny Tonge.
As a community, we need to know, in advance
of any election, if Mr Kennedy or the leader of any
other party intends to maintain this policy of giving
priority to the unreasonable demands of pro-Israel
activists over and above to the voice of two million
is high time we stopped running after ‘scraps’ of
favourable statements; it is time to demand concrete
policy, commitments and action.
The leaders of our major organisations must
give serious consideration to the current and long-term
potential influence of pro-Israel activists on the
various political parties in this country before aligning
themselves with anyone. Our failure to address the attack on hijab now may yield dire consequences
in the future. The
situation in France is not as far away as some would
have you believe. Hijab
is just the beginning: beards, Quran, books, prayer
mats, hats and the kalimah will soon follow.
Let us not forget that Britain and France are
part of the EU and if this case is argued successfully
in Europe, public opinion could change here too if
the ‘spin’ doctors such as Evan Harris are
allowed to continue their campaign unopposed.
Act now before it is too late.
May Allah guide and protect us all from the
designs of evil, and grant us eternal bliss in the
الجبال (إبراهيم 14:46)
indeed were the plots which they made, but their plots
were well within the sight of Allah, even though they
were such as to shake the hills.
plotted and planned and Allah is the best of planners
remember me in your duas.
UK, 22nd February 2004.
As for responding to the ‘spin’
on this issue of hijab
please consider the following bullet points
to use when explaining our position to the wider British
community or when writing to protest or addressing
Extreme secularism is not at risk in the West; it
is the dominant belief system
Extreme secularism is the fastest growing ‘belief
system’ in the West
not ostentatious; it is the opposite of ostentation.
The only way to keep religion out of schools is to
make disbelief an admission criterion.
Girls generally conform to the wishes of their fathers
and mothers to varying degrees in all cultures.
The necessity of hijab
is agreed on by a consensus of recognised scholars.
The scholars who differ on this issue are either confused
There is no such thing as ‘national cohesion’ when
it comes to dress.
Turkey has banned hijab
down the barrel of a gun. We should not follow that
a symbol of Muslims all around the world regardless
of sect and is not a symbol of radicalism. It is
perfectly normal to wear it if you are a practising
The actual proposition is to force young girls to
remove a piece of their clothing to reveal parts of
their body which they do not wish to expose in public.
The symbolic value of hijab
is secondary to its functional purpose, which is to
cover a significant part of the body.
The whole debate about religious symbols is irrelevant
until we discuss the functional purpose of hijab.
If all fathers across all cultures are allowed to
be protective towards their daughters, why not Muslim
How many French fathers, irrespective of their religious
persuasion, would tolerate it if someone were to say
to them, ‘I would like your daughter to reveal in
public more of her body than she is currently showing?’
If Islam were a fanatical, dangerous, suicidal cult,
then Muslims would have ceased to exist many hundreds
of years ago.
Pouring scorn on your entire heritage makes you look
cheap in the eyes of those you seek to impress.
The best way to defend Islam is to practise it.
‘While militant Islam has uniformly
aggressive intentions toward non-Muslims, Muslims
themselves are the first victims of this movement.
This has a profound implication: the battle against
militant Islam amounts not to a clash of civilizations
but a struggle for the soul of Islam. The West
is engaged, but only in so far as it can help
moderate Muslims defeat militant Islam, then work
with them to develop a reformed, modernized, and
moderate version of Islam. Like it or not, the
message of September 2001 is that the United States
is tasked with the indirect burden of bringing
Islam into harmony with modernity.’ [My
emphasis] Daniel Pipes in the 2002 preface to
his In the Path of God.
Pipes, D. (2001), The Muslim Claim to
Jerusalem, Middle East Quarterly. It is also
pertinent to note here the historical fact of
when Sayyiduna Umar (ra) received the keys to
the city of Jerusalem. In 637 C.E. he signed
the famous peace treaty with the people of the
city and in so doing, opened the city’s gates
to the Jews, who had been denied access for thousands
of years. For the first time, Jerusalem, under
Muslim rule, became a truly welcoming city for
all three Abrahamic faiths. Throughout the period
of Muslim rule – longer than twelve hundred
years – members of the Jewish, Christian and
Muslim communities were allowed to peacefully
coexist in Jerusalem.
– أثناء حديثه
أن يكون عليه
المفتي - :
‘ .. معرفة الناس..
أن يكون بصيراً
له أن يحسن
بل يكون حذرا
- أنظر ( كشاف
القناع ) 6/299.