By Shazia Hobbs
Islam is never out of the news. Never have I experienced a time when Islam and Muslims have been discussed daily in the news, social media sites, the water cooler and even the hairdressers. There are atrocities being committed in the name of Islam right across the world, pretty much every single day, and probably as I write these very words.
Some say it has “nothing to do with Islam”; some cannily hedge their bets and say it has “something to do with Islam” and some say it has “everything to do with Islam”. The bickering continues with insults, threats and deaths to silence any honest and grown up discussion around Islam.
Sitting on the fence gives you a sore behind so I say it has everything to do with Islam and the mullahs and sheikhs who control their communities, and tell us that all our problems can be solved by reading a 1,400 year old book about violence, conquest and intolerance.
There are over a billion Muslims in the world and many of them are angry that they are being tarred with the same brush as the ones who are not so peaceful, but unfortunately poll after poll demonstrates that huge numbers of Muslims — both in the Muslim world and the West — hold views which are simply incompatible with civilisation, with humanity, with normality.
It’s important to observe countries where Muslims are the majority and where Sharia law is the only law. These are countries where the rulers and politicians think nothing of beheading someone for being gay, or stoning to death a victim of rape or jailing and lashing those who question Islam. The problem in these countries isn’t that the rulers and politicians are “misinterpreting” the Quran and Hadiths. The problem is that they are accurately interpreting them.
When I see the stories of injustice, brutality and total control and oppression of women who, in some Muslim-majority countries, must be veiled or leave home without the permission of a male relative (and not even allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia) I am sickened. When I see men hanging from cranes by their necks as punishment for being gay, I cry at the senseless loss of life. I cry when I hear of children being raped and murdered and their rapists and killers escaping justice because men are rarely punished for crimes of rape in Muslim-majority countries.
Adultery in these countries is punishable by stoning to death — women are buried up to the neck, stones and large boulders thrown at them by a baying crowd of men; I even read one story where the woman’s own father threw the first rock. I guess that’s what European feminists call “male privilege”. Men can also be stoned to death. In the 2008 version of the Islamic Penal Code of Iran, an adulterous man must be buried in a ditch up to near his waist before being stoned.
So why, then, is it “racist” to be scared of Islam? It seems entirely rational to be scared of Islam. Why is it that when someone like the commentator Douglas Murray speaks up about this kind of horror that is real life for many people in Islamic countries, he is called a far right extremist? Murray is gay, an atheist and a critic of Islam. In my book, he has three exceptionally good reasons to be scared of Islam.
I have even seen a petition calling for the BBC to issue an apology for having Murray on some programme or other. Seriously? Somebody sat down and thought Douglas Murray is the real threat here, forgetting that in countries where Sharia is the law, Douglas Murray would be one of the first people thrown off a tall building or swinging from a crane.
Muslims who live in the Western world and are protected by Western laws wouldn’t last long living under Sharia law either. In the West, in theory anyway, we can go where we want, with whom we want, when we want, wearing clothes we have chosen. We can go to pubs with friends and we can choose whether to drink or not, we can choose to date, study at school and learn to drive. Simple things in life we all take for granted, but for women especially in countries where Sharia law is enforced, these things are not within reach. For many, they are not even a memory.
If Islam really is peaceful then my suggestion for Muslims in the Western world, is to allow the ‘Draw Mohammed’ competitions to take place. These are cartoons — that’s all. And think about it: no one knows for sure what the prophet looks like, so technically it isn’t really a drawing of Mohammed.
When Muslims hear of the rape of children by Pakistani Muslim men in the UK, they are silent, other than to press their big shiny red RACISM buzzers when others bring up the subject. But when Muslims hear of children dying in Palestine they march in their thousands with ‘Free Palestine’ banners. When someone attempts to stage a ‘Draw Mohammed’ event, Muslims mobilise to protest in huge numbers and huge volume. But when ISIS drags the planet back to the Stone Age, or rather the Stoning Age, Muslims can barely fill a broom cupboard in protest – if they protest at all.
Here in the UK, grooming gangs have already raped thousands of children and there is no suggestion this phenomenon has stopped. Muslims are silent because they do not want to admit there is a cancer at the root of our community. Muslims have organised no marches to show they are disgusted at the way our men have behaved. On the contrary, Muslim groups asked the police to ban a recent Pegida march in Rotherham highlighting the abuse. Get that into your head: Muslims are trying to stop protests about children being raped by Muslims, but they’re not trying to stop actual rapes of children by Muslims.
Muslim men are also raping Muslim children in their communities and we, as a community, stay silent again. Organise a ‘Draw Mohammed’ competition though and we will take to the streets, lobby the right people, and instil such a fear into the hearts of the organisers that the competition has to be cancelled, due to safety reasons.
To show the world that everyone has got it wrong about Islam, why don’t we direct that passion and anger towards the men who are raping our children and end it? Why don’t we gather in our thousands and march to Westminster and demand that action be taken to end the misery of thousands of children in the UK?
If we can stop people criticising and mocking Islam, if we can stop people drawing cartoons of the Mohammed then surely we can attempt to stop the rape of children here in the UK, where Sharia law is not (yet) the law?
Shazia Hobbs is the author of The Gori’s Daughter, her debut novel, and is currently writing her next novel, The Gori. Shazia is a full-time mum and her days are spent doing the school run, after-school activities, cooking, cleaning and walking the dog. Somewhere in between all of these chores she finds the time to write.
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