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An Open Letter to Ruth Kelly
By Iftikhar Ahmad
According to Ruth Kelly, approved citizenship lessons may be introduced in Muslim schools and supplementary schools to eradicate extremism and violence in Muslim communities. Muslim schools help to strengthen community cohesion, not undermine it. This is the reason why all Teachers Unions do not like to see the rapid growth of Muslim schools after 9/11 and 7/7. According to a world wide survey, Islam was found to have little to do with radicalization or antipathy towards western culture. The war on terror has radicalized Muslims around the world to unprecedented levels of anti-American feeling. The wealthier and better –educated were more likely to be radicalized. This is a climate of growing mistrust between Islam and the West. Muslims are a group causing very little terrorism in Europe, while at the same time; Muslims are much more likely to be arrested on suspicion of terrorism. There were 498 incidents in eleven EU countries in 2006. The truth is that only one out of 498 terrorist attacks was carried out by Muslims. But the Western and especially British media are not interested on reporting such incidents. More than half of Muslims were arrested on suspicion of terrorism.
The native children need citizenship education as well as Islamic education because they have no respect and are reluctant to tolerate those who are different. Government figures revealed that the number of pupils suspended from schools for racist abuse rose nearly one-third in a year. The schools are reluctant to report racist bullying because they do not want their schools to gain a reputation for having racist problems. Blackburn and Burnley were identified as being among the country’s most divided areas, where racial tension is very high. The wholly negative attitudes towards Islam in the West have a very long history and have a palpable feel more than ever at the moment. Islamophobia is alive and well. The mass media, popular culture and the leading forces in world politics are all mostly hostile to and in their representations of Islam, and Muslims. British right-wing target Muslims as the new “enemy other”. Muslims in Britain are disempowered, disenfranchised, disenchanted, disaffected groups at the margins of economy, society and polity. Identification with Islam is strengthening among young generations of Muslims, both as a reaction to racist hostility as well as a desire to understand Islam. The brutal colonial history, combined with racism which endemic in the host country, this creates an atmosphere of mistrust.
It is the state schools as well as British media and politicians, creating a sense of intolerance in all walks of British life. There is a tendency in the Western media to portray Islam in a negative way. The media stirs up fear and prejudice towards Islam and reinforce the image of Islam as the enemy. The Western media is stoking up fear of Islam and rely on “simplistic notion of the battle between cultures.” Lord Falconer’s speech to the National Association of Head teachers’ has many contradictions. He talks about freedom yet he wants to take this freedom from Muslim students. He talks about tolerance yet he encourages intolerance towards Muslims. Jack Straw, Phil Woolas, Bill Rammell, David Davis and the list is endless of the politicians that have created an atmosphere of fear and deionization towards innocent Muslims. The speech reinforces the discrimination towards Muslims legitimized by the Government and the Lord Chancellor.
The number of racist statements has increased dramatically in Europe. The number of racist statements reportedly grew by between 25 and 45 Percent in France, Netherlands, Britain, Italy and Belgium. In one EU country, racism increased by as much as 70%. According to EUMC, the increase can partly be attributed to easier procedures for reporting racism and more publicity on the problem. A leader of the Freedom Party said, if Muslims want to stay in the Netherlands, they should tear out half of the Koran and throw it away and they should not listen to the Imams. Islam is a violent religion. Third World War has begun. In the past he voiced his fear of a “tsunami of Islamisation in the Netherlands”. Islam is depicted as a threat to Christian identity. It has produced an advertisement showing an Islamic Crescent above an ancient church with these words: ‘This is the true hidden desire of Muslims’. The interior minister of Austria called for the banning of hijab-clad teachers and asserting that 45% of Muslims defy assimilation. In Belgium, the editor of Het Velb insulted the local Muslim community by referring to it as a breeding ground for thousands of Jihad candidates. Deep in the European subconscious is the memory of a war with the Muslims. How Sicily was lost, how half of Spain was conquered and finally how Constantinople was conquered on Tuesday, May29, 1453, a date that lives in infamy. It was the end of Christianity in Turkey and that was to become Istanbul. Brussels launches sermons about gender equality, though it should be remembered that Turkey gave women the vote before Belgium.
The British Government has continued to create an atmosphere of hatred and fear since 7/7 towards Muslims. Ant-terror laws, indiscriminate arrests of innocent Muslim youths and demonizing Muslims that dresses in certain way. It is the mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the Muslim way of life, not the other way round. One can learn hospitality, tolerance and generosity from Muslims.
Islam isn’t the sickness. It is the cure. It is one of liberty and equality. Secularists and followers of other religions regard Islam with something approaching panic. It is wrong to say that Islam has turned Osama bin Laden into a devil. It is the Secularist Western policies have turned Osama and others against the West. The world needs Islam to address the moral issues. America and Europe are wealthy, but they are morally impoverished. Broken families, drugs, booze, youth gangs, crime, neglect of children and the old, the sheer boredom of shopaholicism, terrorism, the inner-cities slums, materialism itself, are all the marks of a global society in decline. Children need to be taught to distinguish between right and wrong.
London School of Islamics
An Educational Trust
63 Margery Park Road London E7 9LD
Tel/Fax: 0208 555 2733 / 07817 112 667