Tag Archives: islam

More in common – my visit to my local mosque

Campaigning for the General Election has been suspended twice in recent days, and rightly so. Last Sunday, we paused in memory of Jo Cox, her lifelong work to show that we have more in common and her tragic death, whilst in recent days we ceased campaigning in the wake of Monday’s atrocious terrorist attack on Manchester by those who wish to use death and destruction to drive us apart.

Last Saturday I visited the North West Kent Muslim Association for their public open day, and now feels like a good time to write about that visit. Like many people, I learned something about Islam while at school, but had never been inside a mosque before, and to be honest, I would have struggled to tell people where my local mosque was.

Dartford’s mosque is on Crayford high street, in a converted church building. For the open day, they had set up an exhibition in their community room, focusing on the fundamentals of Islam, the relationship between Islam and Europe (including the many things that we have gained from Islamic cultures, such as coffee drinking) and on Islam and Science.

As both a Liberal and a Christian however, the most interesting parts of the day for me were the discussions with local Muslims. I was surprised to see the mosque had separate entrances for ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ (though we were all welcomed through the same gate this time). However, women at the mosque assured us that this was not a sign of inferiority or subjugation for either sex and that they felt that Islamic law and practice was there to guard their equality rather than undermine it.

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LibLink… Paddy Ashdown: It’s not a fight against “us”, it’s Islam vs Islam

Mali rebel - License Some rights reserved by MagharebiaIn an article in today’s Times, Paddy Ashdown concedes that David Cameron is probably right that the so-called War on Terror (a term Paddy dislikes) will go on for another decade. Paddy argues that we need to recognise that the way western countries have been operating doesn’t work. What is needed now is to recognise that the fight is between different factions of Islam. It should be our job to help out moderate governments where we can.

He outlined why the “invasions, main battle armies and occupation” of

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Nick Clegg publishes his message for Ramadan

You can find it as Muslim News – here’s an excerpt:

We in the Liberal Democrats have always championed religious tolerance, and we are proud of the diverse traditions in our country. We recognise the importance of the principle of Zakat to Muslims, especially at this time, and I deeply regret that Islam can be unfairly portrayed in many parts of the media especially when Muslim communities in this country do so much excellent charitable work.

The full article is here.

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Opinion: The Wisdom of Clare Short

Clare Short, in her book, An Honourable Deception?, talks about religious fanaticism. She makes the point that the Iraqi body count website calculates that between the 9/11 bombings and February 2004, there were roughly 3,500 deaths resulting from Islamic extremist attacks on Western targets. In comparison she points out that over 13,000 non-combatant civilians died as a result of the Iraq war, as well as another 3,000 in Afghanistan, and 3,000 Palestinian civilians.

Looking at these figures – and acknowledging that many more Muslims have died in violence in the Balkans, Pakistan, Chechnya – it is easy to see why young Muslims living in these countries have a view of the world that includes a sense that the world values their lives much less than those of, say, me, a typical western male…

Obviously any member of a western government would shout me down were I to make such a claim to their face. Any Western liberal democracy places the utmost value on human life, regardless of race, religion or gender. At least, so any Bill of Rights you care to read would tell you.

But that’s just the point. It’s easy to legislate for a concept, but to live up to that all the time is not easy.

We shouldn’t shy away from the fact that any democratically elected government that values its prospects for re-election jealously protects the lives and interests of its citizens. Couple this very understandable bias with the fact that none of the most powerful and influential governments in the world are Islamic nations and you get the situation that, in any multinational forum – be it the G8 or the UN – it is the interests of the richer, western liberal democracies that are put to the fore not those of the Islamic world.

Look at the Darfur genocide. Were that happening in the UK there would be an overwhelming response, not only to protect those being oppressed, but to bring the oppressors to justice. It is not outside our power to take such actions when these events occur -even in the Sudan, but our governments choose to take less action because there is no reason to take any action other than a moral obligation.

It is this narrow self-interest that is the major driving force behind every country’s foreign policy. However, it is arguably at the root of most of the problems in the world. The fact is that the ‘war on terror’ has killed far more Muslims than it has anyone else. I say that we should forgive the Muslims of the world for thinking that the world doesn’t care about them. Fair point, really. This view is borne out of a dispassionate examination of the facts over the last couple of hundred years.

It is this feeling of impotence in the face of an unjust world that is at least partly driving young Muslims into the arms of extremist recruiters. If we are to overcome these problems, we could do worse than learn lessons from the UK’s attempts over the years to resolve the sectarian problems in Northern Ireland.

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Recent Comments

  • User Avatarfrankie 24th Sep - 12:44pm
    Alas and alack Peter The Czech koruna jumped today against major currencies as the country’s central bank abandoned its policy of pegging its value to...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 24th Sep - 12:41pm
    Brilliant though still a bit too much policy, People might just remember it the next day. I like the playing on Ca(pa)ble.
  • User Avatarfrankie 24th Sep - 12:37pm
    A well balanced article. At the end of the day Uber cut corners to displace rivals and generate turn over ( I would say generate...
  • User AvatarMerseyLib 24th Sep - 12:33pm
    I'm not a Londoner either but would have thought that maybe a yellow (!) card would have been more appropriate - so maybe give Uber...
  • User AvatarRichard Easter 24th Sep - 12:07pm
    The problem with the 40,000 jobs lost argument pushed by some is that : 1) Uber is one of the biggest pushers of driverless car...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 24th Sep - 11:31am
    Alistair, The pegging mechanism is known as ERMII You might just want to check with wiki on that.