I would be delighted if you would please forward my email to Sheikh
Ibrahim Mogra, quoted today on the BBCs website.
'Ibrahim Mogra regularly tells conferences it is up to British Muslims to
explain to the white majority what their faith stands for.'
Firstly, thank you for recognising that Muslims need to explain their
faith to the 'traditional' - for want of a better word - population of Britain.
I think that explaining is only part of the story, though. I believe it is
important to explain that there are variations on the themes - that the
Taliban, for example, are not mainstream Muslims. It's all too easy for
individuals, newspapers etc to refer to 'Muslims' as if there's only one
set of beliefs... thereby each Muslim is thought of as a supporter of Al
Secondly, I will reproduce a quotation (of your words?) from the website.
"What is clear is that we have to make sure that we don't come across as a
threat to others in society. We live in Britain, our homes and families
are in Britain. Our children are schooled here. When you are in your own home
you want to feel safe and secure. So do other people in Britain. Muslims have
just as much a role to play in bringing this about as everyone else in
society. This is my jihad - to give the British people a true picture of
Islam, a picture of love, respect and peace."
I salute you - this is something positive and constructive. May I wish
you every success in this venture.
Finally, can I be try to explain something which I, as a Briton, have
repeatedly found offensive in certain Muslims. As a Briton, when I travel
anywhere in the world I will always endeavour to meet the standards of
morality, behavoiur and so on (including dress) of the host community.
This is in line with the old saying 'When in Rome, do as the Romans do'. What
has offended me are women wearing the veil. It has the implication that the
woman wearing it feels threatened in broad daylight, in public, in the
society where I was brought up. It asserts that the men in the society
(of whom I am one) are unable to control predatory instincts. That may be
true in some parts of the world - I don't know. It isn't in Britain and it
does instantly set such women (and their families) aside as refusing to accept
the general mores of British society. You can live in a country and reject
some of the generally accepted morality, but to reject all - as is implied by
the wearing of the veil - is to reject the society per se, and directly leads
to a form of self-imposed apartheid, which then builds barriers and
I now live in the USA - the culture here is bizarre and difficult, but I'm
trying to bridge the gaps. My concern is that one of the problems in
Britain is that some - often recently-arrived - Muslims do not make such an effort.