The atmosphere of political Islamophobia, anti-Muslim hatred and media stigmatization of Muslims and Islam, is something that has become normalised today. Interference with Islam, its beliefs and practices has reached such heights that one wonders whether the vaunted secular distinction of the public and private sphere actually exists. It increasingly represents an arbitrary distinction which moves with the prejudices and hatred of those in power of an increasingly penetrative state.
We now have non-Muslim judges that have become Mujtahid Imams, formulating fatwas on the basis of a single reading of the Qur’an, Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones and a dossier compiled by a half-baked “expert” concerning which beliefs are regarded as “extreme”. The courts have, in other words, regulated the beliefs of Muslims without expressly doing so through the notoriously nebulous “extremism” discourse.
The regulatory colonialism continues into the final bastion of Islam in a post-colonial, legally fictitious world of nation states: the area of Muslim “personal law”. Muslims who wish to accord their faith a centrality in the arena of civil matters often desire to have their marital issues overseen by Islamic precepts. Given the varying conditions for a marriage, intricate regulation of the types of divorce and annulment, as well as the need for a neutral, learned arbitrator(s) when matters become grey or sour, Muslims also seek recourse to Islamic scholars, or panels of Islamic scholars. These panels advise couples concordant to Islam. On the face of it there is no problem with this. Bata’i Din, or Halachic arbitration “courts” have been set up for some three centuries. In fact, according to the London Beth Din website, it is forbidden for Jews to seek a remedy from “secular civil courts”. Yet Jews, far from being framed within the far-right “Trojan Horse” trope of setting up a “parallel legal system”, are welcomed as being an integration success story.
Why are Muslims being treated differently?
A religious group in Britain has decreed that, “no child will be allowed to learn in our school” if their mother drives because women driving “goes against the laws of modesty within our society”
The Community has been robust in its responses, defending the practice:
“We are proud of what we stand for and we do not feel the need to excuse ourselves for our deeply held beliefs and staunchly maintained way of life. It has withstood the test of time and is not prone to the vagaries of passing fads… It is a fact that most women in our community do not drive cars. It is equally true that a fair number of women do drive cars openly and entirely unhindered…”
The anti-Muslim haters and hate-groups would have jumped on this story like a dog on a bone: Those darn extremist Islamical Islamists, they wanna take ova R country! Those extremists are oppressing their women! They want a dual legal system for their extremism! Reform! Extremists! Extremists! Extremists!
Mr Eric Pickles (and Tariq Ahmad),
I have read the letter written by yourself and Tariq Ahmad, which brazenly capitalises on the attacks in France, in which, despite recognising that Muslims “around the world” do not accept such actions, you have requested Muslim leaders to assist in rooting out “extremist” speakers in the pursuit of dealing with the challenges of integration and radicalisation. I have also seen David Cameron’s dismissal of Muslim Council of Britain’s legitimate questioning of the discriminatory undertone towards Islam and Muslims in the letter. In Cameron’s neocon world, the letter is “reasonable and moderate”, and he has already categorised those raising contentions against your letter as “having a problem”, thus shutting down any debate on its legitimacy.
The well-timed letter seems to continue on from the equally well-time propaganda by John Ware aired on the British Biased Corporation recently. Your letter suggests placing a duty on Imams who must now explicate how Islam can be a part of British identity today. The fact is, traditional scholars have always encouraged a communitarian approach to society, obeying the law, encouraging charitable acts and supporting the needy and downtrodden. This is all part of our faith and shared values. The Imams know this. You ignore this and ask of Muslims leaders “to do more”. As such your letter raises questions. Many questions.
In all honesty, up until recently she was an unknown obscure who did not have much relevance in my life. However, Anne Marie Waters caught my bored eyes as she nestled between Quilliamite Usama Hasan and Zionist hate preacher Sam Westrop, in a discussion program which discussed the neocon deflective postulation that “Islamism” poses the greatest to the world. But where some neocons obscure their hate for Islam behind linguistic gymnastics of “Islamism”, Waters boldly declared Islam itself to be the problem,
“the idea that Islamism can be completely separated from Islam I think is problematic to say the least.”
Later in the same discussion she trivialises Islamophobia as “a phrase used to shut down any criticism of anything to do with Islam”. Perhaps she should trivialise Islamophobia and its realities directly addressing the many women who are attacked by white, non-Muslim and – like Waters – right-wing for being Muslims because of the hate directed at Islam and Muslims thanks to extremist ideologues like herself. And make no mistake, Anne Marie Waters hate for Islam as a religion is unfettered and focussed.
Maryam Namazie’s view of Islam is not dissimilar to Waters’. Thus both were suited for each other at the organisation “One Law for All” (OLFA), a front organisation for the anti-Islam Worker-Communist Party of Iran.
During her time at OLFA she made shockingly anti-Muslim remarks, loaded with prejudiced, reductionist assumptions. In one particular lecture she claims “criminal cases” occur in the context of “Taliban-esque” Sharia courts, which is patently false (See here from 10:50). In the same diatribe of a lecture Waters, in supporting the French ban on the niqab cites an unverifiable conversation with a French parliamentarian who stated that because of the French ban many women were now happy that they didn’t have to wear the hijab. In responding to the contention “what about women who do want to wear it, she replies
“why do you care about the women who want to wear it than the women who don’t want to wear it?”