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Silence Is Not An Option

Hizb ut-Tahrir

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In the name of God, the most Compassionate, the most Merciful.

In the same week that a German man is being tried on a charge of cannibalism, a British man is being tried for the killing of two young girls and a transvestite potter wins the most ‘prestigious’ art prize in Britain, Muslims are once again facing a wave of arrests by the British law enforcement authorities under the so called ‘war on terror’.

A nationwide ‘anti-terrorist’ sweep covering towns and cities as diverse as Gloucester, Dudley and Eastbourne has seen 21 people placed into special custody. The latest arrests, though ratcheting up the ante, conform with a disturbing trend following the events of September 11 2001. Since the Twin Towers’ attack, 529 people have been arrested in Britain under draconian anti-terrorist legislation, yet only five have been convicted of ‘terrorist’ offences - a mere 1 per cent.

Despite this low level of achievement, many in the Western world - academics, policymakers and the media - claim that the ‘war on terror’ is a war worth fighting for and a war that must be won, whether it be on the military front in Iraq or on the law enforcement front in the cities and heartlands of the Western world. This latter war has led the Muslim community (even those who previously were considered ‘moderate’) to feel that they are now under siege. Not only do they now feel threatened from the police, but they also face an increasingly hostile media (local and national) who seem to spare no second in maligning Islam and the Muslim community specifically.

No amount of publicity-stunt visits to Muslim communities by politicians will disguise the racist nature of the UK?s domestic war on ?terror?.

No amount of publicity-stunt visits to Muslim communities by politicians will disguise the racist nature of the UK?s domestic war on ?terror?.

Though some in the community may instinctively feel the need to lie low, remain silent and ride out the current storm, this would be a mistake for two reasons. Firstly the strategy of bunkering ourselves would not benefit the Muslim community in the long run, and secondly, silence would also be a failed opportunity to expose the militant liberal way of life that we see in the West; a system that oppresses humanity the world over. In the current emotive and caustic debate, several points need to be made:

Firstly, the arrests of so many diverse and unconnected people in different cities is obviously designed to intimidate and create a ‘climate of fear’ in the Muslim community. Following on from the recent remarks of a Foreign Office Minister about either choosing the ‘British way’ or the ‘terrorist’ way, the wave of arrests sends a very clear and harsh message to the Muslim community - surrender Political Islam or face the consequences. It is clear that many Muslims who mistakenly believed that integration and greater political participation would act as an insurance policy against such intimidation are now realising that this was a mere illusion. As the Muslims of Bosnia found out to their cost in the 1990s, even assimilating into the indigenous society’s culture, values and beliefs, as opposed to the integration that is often advocated in Britain, did not protect them from mass victimisation when it came to the crunch.

Secondly, it is also clear that despite the veneer of tolerance and civility, Western secularism is exceedingly intolerant of any values, ideas or thoughts that contravene its basic tenets and beliefs. Supporters of Western liberal values may talk a good game about tolerance, free speech and the rule of law, but the introduction of draconian anti-terror legislation, the mass surveillance, bugging and monitoring campaigns, the wave of arrests, the severe crackdown on Islamic political parties and the brutality witnessed in Guantanamo Bay, reveal the true nature of Western values. It should therefore be clear to any impartial observer that Western liberal societies are as militant and fundamentalist as they come, especially when they believe their way of life and interests are at stake.
In Europe and America, Muslims are either placed outside the law, or subjected to discrimination and attacks, even for their dress and lifestyle choices.
Thirdly, the alleged reason given for the crackdown and arrests is the prevention of terrorism. Yet the problem should be put in perspective - the main issue in the scheme of things is not the activities of a few young men in Gloucester and Dudley, but tens of thousands of young men in Western armies. These young men implement state terrorism on millions of citizens on behalf of their governments through their occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands have died in the Islamic world as a result of Western colonialist policies, tens of thousands are brutally jailed in the prisons under the behest of pro-Western secular dictators like Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan and eight thousand people die each day (3 September 11ths) as a result of AIDS thanks to secular liberal values towards sex. Yet if we read the speeches of policymakers, it would seem that the only people in the world who are victims and face insecurity, death and harm are those living in the West and the countries of its closest allies.
Fourthly, it is clear that Western secular societies have failed to integrate Muslims through thought and now seek to do it by force and stealth. The idea behind UK trained Imams financed by the British taxpayer, as was recently reported in the Sunday Telegraph, is another idea to impose Western values by stealth. Secular societies have for decades sought to do to Islam what they did to Christianity - to initiate a fundamental reformation such that pure Islamic values are diluted to fit into a Western secular prism.

The challenge for us all but specifically the mosques and their associated committees is to therefore ensure that they do not go along with this latest attempt at cultural imperialism. They should indeed prevent the surging infiltration in their mosques and they should indeed ensure that the Imams are able to relate to the youth but not at the expense of producing a Western diluted Islam; the type of Islam which would prevent supporting the Palestinians against Israel, the type of Islam which allows Iraq to be occupied, the type of Islam which condemns Jihad but supports Western colonialism, the type of Islam that believes women are oppressed if they wear the Islamic clothing but are liberated if they wear bikinis, the type of Islam that forbids the discussion of politics in the mosque except if it is by the local MP and the type of Western Islam that involves the passing on of clandestine information, in contravention of the basic tenets of our belief, to the legal authorities about people who regularly visit the mosque, promote Islam, and who may give their Zakat (charity) to Muslims in Palestine and Iraq.

Muslims today as we know face great challenges across the world. We indeed need to transform our thinking and avoid stagnancy to solve the many problems we have, yet this thinking must be done within an Islamic framework of our own sources, values and thoughts and not through a neo-Western secular framework. We as Muslims in the West also face many problems and issues. But with great challenges come great opportunities and as a Muslim community we must rise from our slumber to avail ourselves of these.

Staying silent in the face of militant secularism is not an option despite the increasing intimidation and provocation. It is our obligation to expose this militant way of life, not just for ourselves, but for the whole of the world, who are the daily silent victims of Western policies and liberal values. We must carry ourselves bravely and courageously, but in a smart, intellectual and political way following the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.). He (s.a.w.), with his companions, faced proactively the wrath of Meccan society with courage, vigour and wisdom, until his Lord (s.w.t.) gave him victory.

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves. And you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the book before you and from those who ascribe partners to Allah. But if you persevere patiently and become Al-Muttaqun (the pious) - then that will be a determining factor in all affairs.” [The Noble Quran, Al-Imran: 186]

Published Friday, December 12th, 2003 - 03:23pm GMT

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