2014: The year they banned Islam?
“Yes, but whoever submits his face (himself) to Allah (i.e. follows Allah’s Religion of Islamic Monotheism) and he is a Muhsin then his reward is with his Lord (Allah), on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” [TMQ Surah Al-Baqarah ayah 112]
Since the events at Woolwich, Muslims have come under ever increasing scrutiny. In a Guardian article on the 28th May, Matthew Taylor and Haroon Siddique reported that there had been almost 200 Islamophobic attacks since the murder of drummer Lee Rigby; which occurred on the 22nd of May. Only Six days earlier. In 2013 the Muslim community was inundated by violent crimes. The Met police force recorded 500 cases of Islamophobic hate crimes up from 336 in 2012. Other police forces recorded double the number of violent crimes, from 2012, against Muslims.
Naturally Muslims are asking why this has happened. After all, the two individuals involved in the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, were just that two individuals. There will no doubt be some misguided people who will blindly hate and commit violence against ‘the other’ without any prompting. That doesn’t explain the number of violent crimes we’re talking about though. It is the government’s criminalisation of Islam and Muslims that has lead to the rise of Islamophobic attacks.
Following the Woolwich incident, David Cameron put together an anti-extremism task force (read: anti-Muslim task force). Since this task force was founded, it has reinforced the idea that Islam and Muslims are inherently violent, evil and must be stopped. Through this task force, Theresa May has once again reinforced the ideas that Islam is evil and Muslims are criminals. Criminalising Muslims in this way has lead to them becoming legitimate targets of violence. It has also given the media a carte blanche to print more and more anti-Islamic vitriol.
As part of this taskforce, Theresa May has already cancelled the passports of 20 British Muslims who have gone to Syria to fight, and is planning to cancel the passports and revoke the citizenship of all who go to Syria to fight. She also plans to hand out ASBO’s to 25 Muslim speakers in April 2014. The ASBO’s are to prevent the speakers from giving talks in public, whether that be in a mosque or in a public lecture theatre. Theresa May generously comes bearing ASBO’s after spurious claims that these speakers have been linked to extremism.
Moazzam Begg has also had his passport cancelled, the second time in eight years. Moazzam Begg’s only crime was working tirelessly to expose the complicity of the British and American governments in the torture and rendition of Muslims across the world. This was heinous enough for Theresa May to deny Moazzam Begg the right to travel. Moazzam Begg explains more about the situation here
In recent months, segregated events at universities have offended the sensibilities of the same people who support apartheid in Palestine. Yes, I’m talking about you ‘Student Rights’ you Henry Jackson front, you. Their fuss, though, went largely ignored, until the government got involved. A government spokesman reported that David Cameron said that guest speakers at universities should not be allowed to address segregated audiences. This has brought the discussion back to the fore. Under the guise of, ironically enough, equality and the opinions and beliefs of Muslims who have been marginalised.
There are many more stories of a similar vein, these just happen to be the more prominent ones. The situation for Muslims is likely to get worse in 2014. Earlier this month Theresa May unveiled her plans for the future. In a report by the anti-extremism task force, it will bring in new legislation to ‘strengthen’ the Charity commission. It has also recommended that material hosted on the internet which would normally be illegal in the UK be blocked by filters. Areas that have been identified as having a problem with extremism will receive more ‘support’. Channel project will also be a legal requirement for those deemed ‘at risk’.
What this means for Muslims is that they will be more closely monitored at the mosque, school, college or university. The opinions of Muslims won’t just be marginalised, they will be banned. Before Muslims weren’t allowed to vocalise certain beliefs, like the implantation of shariah in Muslim countries; now we’re being told even believing that is a crime! Any website promoting Islam could be banned. Convoys going to Syria could be stopped and those organising them accused of providing material support to terrorists. Any Muslim speaker who disagrees with the government will get a visit from the ASBO fairy, now that the precedence has been set. All in all, will we remember 2014 as the year they banned Islam?
The full anti-terrorism task force report can be found here
The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“No one of you should belittle himself.” They said: “O Messenger of Allah, how could anyone of us belittle himself?” He said: “If he sees something concerning which he should speak out for the sake of Allah but does not say anything. Allah will say to him on the Day of Resurrection: “What prevented you from speaking concerning such and such?” He will say: “Fear of the people.” (Allah) will say: “Rather you should have feared Me.”
Reference: Jami` at-Tirmidhi 3370
English Translation: Vol. 6, Book 45, Hadith 3370