who enquire about the basics of Islam are usually told
about the “five pillars” of the religion. These
relate to faith and to practice, but at a deeper level
it might be said that there are two truly great pillars
which support the whole edifice of faith, writes Shaykh
Hasan Le Gai Eaton. These are peace and justice.
Ummah of Purpose
weeks after the london bombings of 7/7, the most deadly
to strike the capital since the Second World War, have
seen testing times for British Muslims, writes Yahya
Birt. The challenge ahead is to focus our sense of
moral purpose to tackle extremism, protect our freedoms,
and work towards a long-term strategy of intellectual
and civic engagement.
Has Gone Wrong
day after the 7th July bombing, London-based think-tank,
Ihsanic Intelligence published a two-year study, The
Hijacked Caravan, unequivocally condemning suicide
bombings done in the name of Islam. Critics were
aplenty. Yasmin al-Mas takes a look at the study
and finds it an important scholarly step in challenging
the so-called ‘Islamic’ justifications for terror.
In the wreckage of the London bombings lie some tender
pieties about the harmlessness of the radical streak in
inner city Islam, writes Abidullah Ansari.
Former MI5 operative David Shayler’s whistleblowing
landed him in jail, but his criticism of British
intelligence is still as sharp and controversial as
ever. In the aftermath of the London bombings, he spoke
to Sonia Malik about the competence of the
security services, the “diabolical” impact of the
Iraq war and why it’s time to scrap the MI5 and MI6.
Taking The Blame?
that we have imams in Britain standing up and publicly
condemning terrorist acts as anti-Muslim and against the
teachings in the Quran, Calvin White wonders if
pressure might be put on Christian leaders to take a
Location, location, location
Durdane’s poetry explores the dark lives of
7/7’s suicide bombers.
Those Muslim women
are at it again!
Fauzia Ahmad and Imran Tyrer ask if it is time to
move beyond tabloid coverage of young Muslim women and
address more relevant issues.
Pat Tillman, our
Dave Zirin pays tribute to an all-American war
hero who turned out to be a conscientious objector to
the Iraq war. And that was after he died.
dirty little secret
John Jackson on the Rohingyas - Burma’s
embattled Muslim minority and their struggle for
Israel or selling out?
Shahid Alam on why general Musharraf is on a mission
to legitimise Israel.
to prison Gaza
the dust of withdrawal settles, Taris Ahmed
argues that Palestinians will find the path to peace in
shambles and their struggle for a state stymied.
Drunk at Birth
Although according to the Islamic worldview we are all
born naturally pure, little Abdullah Bradford was
born with a hangover and a bad habit.
A Druid’s curse on Q-News, “Islamic Trojan” fights
online smut, New York’s Hasidic Taliban, “Dear
Palestinian Bomber”, So, did Allah make us funny?,
Goodbye Barbie, Salam Fulla!
respond vociferously to the London bombings, BBC’s
Panorama program and the state of Muslim university
Q New : The Muslim
2005, Issue 364
Buy a copy of this issue online
months after the tragic events of 7/7, it is
time for introspection. Hopefully the media
and political circuses are now behind us. As
headline writers rest their tired clichés,
politicians lower their shrill cries and
civil servants take a breather, we must not
forget that these are days of destiny. The
reinforced new image of Islam as a
‘threat’ to society combined with both
the introduction of new legislation and a
new official mindset are developments likely
to stay with us for years to come.
Everywhere change is being forced. The
government’s indifference to the issues
and concerns of British Muslims is no longer
acceptable. Lethargic civil servants,
doctrinaire social workers and analysts
together with bumptious anti-racist
activists have been pushed to re-evaluate
the situation. But with Birmingham burning,
jihadists still on the prowl all over the
place and ‘our boys’ still in Basra, is
it a matter of too little too late?
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the
wind. It is neither a ‘yes’ nor a
Here, we must remember, we are talking about
processes. The Home Office Task Force was a
necessary but insufficient condition. Some
of us enjoyed the spectacle of civil
servants who - despite all the signals -
lived in a make-believe world of red
herrings. When Home Office Minister Hazel
Blears left Whitehall to ‘engage with the
community’ it was within the dynamic
matrix of interfacing with people identified
‘useful’ in dealing with the most
earth-shattering issue confronting British
Muslims - as identified by the Faith and
Diversity Unit: that of forced marriage and
Despite the effort of New Labour control
freaks, a few did make it to the consulting
table but the vast majority remained trusted
party apparatchiks and those addicted to
Home Office crumbs. When the one hundred or
so members of the Task Force finally met in
Windsor in mid-September it was obvious that
some bells were ringing: The consultation
was the most diverse ever by the government,
a big improvement from the pre-7/7 days when
the issue of engagement had become a simple
matter of talking to an umbrella body.
In a few weeks time the final report of the
Task Force will be published. My advice is
not to expect miracles. But do expect a
shibboleth: the suggestion of setting up a
National Advisory Council of Imams is as
likely to contribute towards fighting
terrorism as the new draconian
anti-terrorism laws. Under-paid and
under-trained imams working under the
diktats of ignorant mosque committees and
rash and harsh laws are not the best of
weapons in fighting a metaphor - what the
war against terrorism really is.
The proposal aimed at engaging with young
people (especially university students)
intellectually is much more sensible. But
any such engagement needs to be broader than
just one restricted by a political or
sociological analysis. It needs to be deeper
in order to expose the religious
underpinnings of the aberration of terrorism
and violence. The only acceptable
counter-argument, for instance, to those
sold on the idea of suicide-terror has to be
primarily rooted in the theological, moral
and ethical understanding of Islam.
But other things have been happening too.
Nothing, however, has been more ill-advised
and sinister than comments by Trevor
Phillips, the chairman of the Commission for
Racial Equality (CRE). His attacks on
multiculturalism and “warning” that
Britain was “sleepwalking our way to
segregation” smacks of hypocrisy,
shallowness and Islamophobia. Phillips
comments would have been just another
peccadillo from a New Labour darling if it
was not for the fact that he heads a public
body funded by tax money that is taken
seriously on matters of community affairs.
Over the years the CRE has not been renowned
to champion the causes or interests of
British Muslims. But since Mr Phillips took
over the CRE’s anti-Muslim crusade has
attained new unacceptable levels. Behind his
sugar-coated speeches is a discernible
streak of contempt for Muslims and Islam.
His castigation of multiculturalism - with
all the pomposity of a Guyanese Fukuyama -
is preposterous, particularly to Muslims.
Though the primary victims of the
multicultural experiment - headed and
supported by the CRE all these years -
Muslims have never really been allowed to be
part of the debate.
It has been claimed that the disbanding of
the CRE would not be good for the
anti-racist movement. That is bad news. But
few British Muslims would shed a tear for an
organisation that has betrayed so much
Islamophobia over the years. The CRE - in
its present condition - is a liability to
Britain’s dynamic and vibrant visible
minorities: a white elephant belonging to
The troubles in Birmingham are,
unfortunately, a signal of the difficult
future that awaits us. Time has come to roll
up our sleeves and deal with real issues:
one of racism within the British Muslim
community and of Islamophobia within the
anti-racist movement. It is time for honest
and courageous warriors of change to go to
battle and for spinmeisters and cronies to
look for new pastures.
Benedict XVI’s approach to Islam has placed him at
marked odds with his predecessor, leaving many to
conclude that the future of Catholic Muslim relations
looks bleak. But Abdal-Hakim Murad says, there is
more to this Vatican traditionalist than meets the eye.
Enough Religion to Hate
After the London bombings, Muslim communities have been
told that they need to challenge extremism and zealotry
in their midst. Well, argues Shaykh Hamza Yusuf,
it is not too much Islam that is the problem, but too
little. In this exclusive excerpt from an address at
London’s Friends House, he calls on British Muslims to
reject calls for a reformation, come to terms with the
true meaning of jihad and struggle for a truly just
Soul is not yours to Possess
Robin Soans has been accused of being an
apologist for “people’s wickedness”. Yet, even
after the London bombings he is unbowed. His brilliant
and controversial new play, Talking to Terrorists,
challenges audiences to understand the motivations of
those who murder for a cause. He spoke to Abdul-Rehman
Malik about why terrorists aren’t psychopaths, the
lure of resistance and the ideological war that is
threatening us all.
from the storm
Hurricane Katrina left New Orleans underwater and her
people divided by race and class. Kelly Izdihar
Crozby chronicles her flight from the chaos.
X’s contribution to the civil rights struggle both
unified and transformed black politics in America. But
his developed political strategy was largely informed by
his own spiritual re-awakening, inspiring him to pull
Black American leaders and organisations together into a
common objective. With tensions between British Muslims
in the aftermath of 7/7 spilling over onto the news
pages, what can we learn from Malcolm’s legacy?
Mohammad Siddique Seddon reflects.
Nightmare after the Nuclear Holocaust
60 years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
the possibility of self-destruction has not dimmed. Ihsanic
Intelligence looks at the legacy of the world’s
first and only nuclear holocaust.
Dave Enders reports from Baghdad on why it
isn’t just the Sunnis who want the Americans out.
Ramadan Counterculture and Soul
Ibrahim N. Abusharif explains why Ramadan helps
us step outside our cartoon world.
times of stress, when most people reach for an aspirin,
the Muslim is likely to reach into his pocket and come
up with a string of beads.
prayers for La Paz
Latif travels to Bolivia and finds a community of
hope and warmth, struggling to establish itself against
The Lore of the Rings
Nahdi on Nathan the Wise.
Le Grand Voyage
Malik on Ismael Feroukhi’s quiet masterpiece.
Praise the Ashes, Whither Karachi
Chaudhary on a series that united the nation, and
the England-Pakistan tour that has already hit rough
Chowdhry on missing prayers, remembering Balakot
before the earthquake and the cerebral joys of academic
Roots to Reckoning
Muhammad Ali, the Black Panthers and Omar Sharif are
just a few of the individuals featured in this
exhibition of iconic and evocative images of London’s
Travelcard to Jannah
A funny thing happened to Munib Chelebi on the
Northern Line. He learnt something about wearing your
faith on your sleeve and being proud of it.