British ‘subjects’ did not deserve legal equality with their colonial masters: Interview with Marieme Helie Lucas on Sharia Courts in Britain

British ‘subjects’ did not deserve legal equality with their colonial masters: Interview with Marieme Helie Lucas on Sharia Courts in Britain

British MPs on the Commons home affairs committee have launched an inquiry into the operation of ‘Sharia courts’ in the UK to ensure their principles are compatible with British law. The announcement follows the establishment of a similar investigation by the Home Office last month. However, over 200 women’s rights campaigners and organisations recently signed a public letter to Prime Minister Theresa May criticising the government inquiry into Sharia councils. Whilst a review into Sharia bodies and their impact on gender equality and justice is long overdue, the letter outlined…

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Demand for Anti-Muslim Bigotry

The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Demand for Anti-Muslim Bigotry

By Amjad Khan   The well-known British political commentator Douglas Murray once observed that sections of the political left, known as the regressive left, have a supply and demand problem with bigotry.  He elaborated that there simply aren’t enough racists in the West these days yet the demand for such bigotry is at an all-time high. Without the demand left-wing activists that organise themselves as anti-bigotry activists can’t justify their work and, more importantly, request for donations. Hence, the definition of bigotry needs to be stretched, new sources of bigotry…

An ex-Muslim’s brief recount of working with the Khatm-e-Nubuwwat

An ex-Muslim’s brief recount of working with the Khatm-e-Nubuwwat

By Zee Jay   August 2009. I finally touched down to the country that was regarded as providing opportunities for many. Here I was, ready to embark on exploring uncharted waters and break new mould. It was my desire to meet and interact with people and observe the British way of life. What I wasn’t expecting was to get drawn back into the web of Islam after already having left a strain of it when I left the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This was at the time I was still…

My issues with the Muslim Council of Britain’s alternative to the Prevent strategy

My issues with the Muslim Council of Britain’s alternative to the Prevent strategy

By Iram Ramzan   Critics of the Government’s counter-terrorism Prevent strategy often claim that it disproportionately targets and focuses on Muslims, despite the fact that it actually works on countering the far-right too. So what does the Muslim Council of Britain decide to do? It has decided to set up its own programme to target, er, Muslims. In a direct challenge to the government’s ‘controversial’ Prevent scheme, the MCB plans to start the Muslim-run counter-radicalisation scheme next year. The MCB said in a statement: In reflecting the wishes of a cross-section…

Pakistan: Whither freedoms and whither rights? 

Pakistan: Whither freedoms and whither rights? 

By Saima Baig On October 7, 2016, an article appeared in Pakistan’s Dawn Newspaper, alleging that in a civil military leadership meeting, the Government (prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his brother and other senior officials were present) had told the military representatives that if they did not make more efforts to go after terrorists, Pakistan will be isolated. Journalist Cyril Almeida, one of the newspaper’s senior writers, had reported that an argument had taken place between members of the Pakistani government and the army over lack of action against militant groups,…

We must have a frank discussion on rising sectarianism in the UK

We must have a frank discussion on rising sectarianism in the UK

By Haydar Zaki and Iram Ramzan   Usually when a Muslim person is discriminated against by a non Muslim, it becomes a huge news story. And rightly so, as we must challenge any discriminative actions. But what do we do when Muslims are discriminated against, and persecuted, by fellow Muslims? If the former is ‘Islamophobic’ then what do we call the latter? Nearly a thousand British Muslims recently signed a petition to ban the Shia procession of Ashura in Luton. This procession, to commemorate the death of the prophet Muhammad’s grandson Imam Hussein,…

Some of my best friends are Jewish, and other confessions of an ex-Muslim

Some of my best friends are Jewish, and other confessions of an ex-Muslim

By Yasmine   One of my earliest memories is of being bound to my bed as the soles of my feet were whipped. At five or six years old, this was my punishment for not correctly memorising surahs, chapters, from the Quran, or for missing one of the daily prayers. Lying on my bed, in the room that I shared with my sister, I would feebly struggle to free my feet from the skipping rope that bound them. But it was pointless. My strength was no match for the man…

The “burkini” ban is the result of tolerance towards Islamism but it unfairly targets Muslim women

The “burkini” ban is the result of tolerance towards Islamism but it unfairly targets Muslim women

Mahnaz Nadeem   I remember a drawing room discussion as a young adult, in which a scenario was presented by a secularist Muslim debating a “moderate” Muslim. The secularist argued that if we carried on as we were a time would come where Muslims in the UK would became so publicly religious that it would be at odds with Western society and that we would no longer be tolerated. That stark warning was 20 plus years ago when fatwas and edicts on modesty were becoming religious mainstream. Even putting a Qawwali (Sufi music…

I’m not a ‘House-Muslim’… I’m more into rap

I’m not a ‘House-Muslim’… I’m more into rap

By Haydar Zaki   House-Muslim. Uncle Tom. These are just some of the terms thrown at me because, as a Muslim, I have a different political outlook to others. Fetishising over my physical appearance and religious identification, the groups that use these (frankly racist) terms so carelessly aim to portray me as one who has no agency, and is merely a slave or a “sell-out” to their community and cause. My abandonment of the tribal political mentality was the first step to warrant such a slanderous response. Many of us,…

Concerns over the inquiry into Sharia councils must not be dismissed

Concerns over the inquiry into Sharia councils must not be dismissed

By Maryam Namazie   Over 200 women’s rights campaigners and organisations recently signed a public letter to Theresa May criticising the government inquiry into Sharia councils chaired by Mona Siddiqui. Whilst a review into Sharia bodies and their impact on gender equality and justice is long overdue, we are concerned that the review is focusing on “best practice” when the issue is not “moderate” versus “extreme” Sharia law but women’s rights. Siddiqui’s inquiry erroneously begins with the premise that Sharia “courts” have a role to play in governing private and…