UK Politics

More airbrushing

Here is the original link to the Muslim Association of Britain’s newspaper “Inspire”, which was produced for and handed out on the September 28th 2002 “March for Justice” demonstration. As you can see, it has sadly disappeared from the MAB’s website. But thanks the the wonders of the Wayback machine, we can see that it was only removed a year ago.

And here it is!

I wonder why they removed it. Much of the material contained in it is similar in tone or in content to material which remains on the MAB website

Perhaps it was that Dr Azzam Tamimi’s musing – on page 4 – on the nature of apostasy and its appropriate punishment was thought a trifle impolitic:

Any discussion of the freedom of faith in Islam must raise the question of riddah (apostasy). The classical definition of riddah is ‘the voluntary and conscious reversion to kufr (disbelief) after having embraced Islam by denying any of its fundamentals in matters of ‘aqidah (faith), Shari’ah (law) or sha’irah (rite), such as the denial of Deity or Prophethood, or the licensing of prohibititions or the negation of obligations.’

There are two Muslim schools of jurisprudence on the matter. The first school, to which most classical jurists belonged, considers riddah a religious offence punishable by death. The second considers riddah a political offence that has nothing to do with ‘the Islamic guarantee of a person’s right to freedom of faith.’ So, riddah in this case is not apostasy but sedition, an act of mutiny or treason, that is punishable within the framework of the authority’s responsibility for preserving the community and maintaining law and order.”

Given that “any discussion of the freedom of faith in Islam must raise the question of riddah (apostasy)” why is their no mention of it on the MAB website any more?

I should say that I have little problem with this sort of “in principle” theoretical discussion about the nature of, and punishment for apostasy. This is only a matter of concern, as far as I’m concerned, if a political party is actually trying to establish a state which puts such laws into practice.

Which brings us onto the next reason that the MAB might have wanted to remove this document from their website. Below, I reproduce in full the MAB’s description of its “Historical Roots and Background”, which situates the organisation in a historical pageant, which stretches from the Prophet Muhammed in the 6th Century, the collapse of the Caliphate, the work of “Imam ash-Shaheed Hasan al Banna” and the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sayeed Qutb, Shaikh Yusuf al Qaradawi on the one hand, Sayyid Abu’l A’la Mawdudi and the Jamaat-e-Islami on the other. That’s pretty much the full pantheon of Muslim Brotherhood saints. The piece concludes with the rallying cry:

“The legacy continuing, the flame still burning strong; struggle and revival of Islam will remain as long as there are people there to carry its torch. One question remains: will you be among those who pick up the banner, who struggle for truth, real freedom and justice?”

Or, in a nutshell, the MAB is the Muslim Brotherhood.

What else in this magazine might the MAB not have wanted on its website?

Could it be that it was embarrassed at the fact that they used up an entire page to display what they claimed were quotations from Nelson Mandela, but which were in reality, simply a pastiche written by Arjan El Fassed of the Electronic Intifada?

Or might it be that they published a forgery in which Sharon “admits” something that – deep in their hearts – the MAB have always suspected: that “We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it“.

Or was it just that they were running out of space on their hard drive…

No. The real reason is that the Muslim Association of Britain has been trying to disguise its true nature since late 2002, when it started to get invited onto TV and radio, get Comment pieces in newspapers, and began generally to reposition itself as a moderate, respectable, mainstream organisation. Out went all the links to other Muslim Brotherhood groups – which it identified as “The Islamic Movement”. Out went the musings on the punishments for apostasy. In came the suits and the ties and the alliance with the godless Socialist Workers Party. Inspire sat there, in a hidden corner of their website, until a year ago when they realised that they hadn’t quite suceeded in removing all public traces of the organisation they had been.

This, then, is the political party with which the Socialist Workers Party and George Galloway MP are in formal alliance.

As with racists and fascists of the non-Islamist variety the MAB should be confronted with the specifics of their bigotry whenever they are interviewed, and whenever their events are reported on. If progressive sections of the media fail to do so, they assist in the promulgation of their hateful views.

Muslim Association: Historical Roots and Background

In the 6 century, when the world swung between life and death and there was none it could turn to for help, a man was born who would give humanity a fresh lease of life. The leadership of the Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) saw the placing of human welfare under the laws of Divine Revelation and the restoration of justice and peace in the world began its epic journey. Never had the world seen so balanced and just a system, never had it witnessed such ethical behaviour and such a harmonic blend of spiritual and material prosperity.

Why is it then that we do not see this wonderful system in place in the world now? Where are the traders that don’t tip the scales in their own favour, where are the just rulers and the moral citizens?

The heart of the 19 century and the onslaught of colonialism and imperialism had begun to take its toll. People had strayed so far from the message of Islam, drowning in a sea of desires and material gains. No longer was Islam the ideal in the mind of the Muslim, rather, it was shunned to the side of the road, to make way for what the world was calling ‘progress’. The leadership of the Muslims was crumbling, the masses disillusioned and disunited.

And just as all seemed lost, the phoenix began to rise from the ashes. People who would call people back to the true teachings of Islam: liberation of the mind and soul; strengthening of body and character; a spirit of sacrifice and brotherhood. Individuals and groups were calling to a religion which far surpassed Western ideas of progress, to a comprehensive system of living which is dynamic and pragmatic. A way of life which is constructive and practical, which rejects notions of selfish individualism and encourages people to live as one, unified under the banner of ‘there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’.

Of these individuals who came to revive the message of Islam were Uthman dan Fodio of Western Africa; who brought under the justice of Islam, much of Nigeria and other surrounding countries. For peoples warring against each other, unsettled by lack of strong leadership, Islam was to be the solution to many of their problems. The secularisation of Egypt was at th its height in the 19 century. Religion was being increasingly confined to the mosques and Islamic university. The political arena was becoming devoid of any Islamic influence and all attention was directed towards the material prosperity of the country. Many figures such as Muhammad Abduh started calling back towards the message of Islam.

However none can compare to the pioneering work of Imam ash-Shaheed Hasan al Banna. The ultimate collapse of the Khilafah in 1924 left the Muslim Ummah with no figurehead or leadership, left to blow in the wind like autumn leaves, aimless and undirected. For this process of unification, of reviving the blessed way of life, he founded the ‘Ikhwan al Muslimoon’ or ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ whose teachings to this day, inspire people the world over.

His vision was clear and directed, focusing on the priorities of the Ummah and the spread of Islam as a comprehensive and balanced system, making it the blood that runs in the veins of the people, a spirit that runs into society and enlivens it with Qur’an. It was groups such as this that attempted to tackle much wider problems such as the occupation of Palestine. Little could be, or can be said of Arab leaders. However these movements were made up of the masses, united by a single message. After him came characters such as Sayyid Qutb and Zainab al Ghazali, Shaikh Yusuf al Qaradawi and Shaikh Rashed al-Ghanouchi, standing at the forefront of Islamic teaching and revival.

In the Indian subcontinent, with the imposition of the British Raj coupled with the general stagnation of Islam within the masses, figures such as Shah Waliullah of the 18 century, Shah Abdul Aziz and Sayyid Ahmad Bareli stressed a return to the authentic texts of Islam.

In the 20 century, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, a famous politician and poet, began changing the mood of the Muslim subcontinent, redirecting its efforts towards Islam. His works inspired many to carry forward the burning flame of Islam. In the same period arose another revolutionary scholar who would later set in motion the largest Muslim reformation party in the Indian subcontinent: Sayyid Abu’l A’la Mawdudi and the Jamaat-e-Islami. His efforts were at the peak of Islamic intellectualism, calling for the widespread implementation of Islam as a way of life; no longer to be sidelined as merely a ‘religion’. Until today, the Jamaat-e-Islami continues to work for the establishment of a society governed by Allah’s laws. Throughout Mawdudi’s life, much like al-Banna and other revivalists, he was thrown into prison and rejected by many, and yet his firm resoluteness never failed to impress all.

Islam came in large numbers to the West in the 1950s and 1960s. Many had planned to return home, but it was never destined for them. Muslims had found for themselves a new home. Living as a minority brings new problems, and to counter the negative effects of this, figures such as Ustadh Khurram Murad in the UK and others set about reviving the universal way of Islam. Inspiring and motivating the youth and bringing back Islam as a way of life that benefits all, were his and his inspired followers’ aims.

The legacy continuing, the flame still burning strong; struggle and revival of Islam will remain as long as there are people there to carry its torch. One question remains: will you be among those who pick up the banner, who struggle for truth, real freedom and justice?