|05 /04/ 2004
I have just come back to the UK from The Gambia. We -- my woman and I -- got out of the tourist area as soon as we could and went to stay in lodges out of the towns. We were staying near a desperately poor village, and I asked permission to attend the Mosque. "Do you want to pray?" the village chairman asked. I explained that I simply wanted to see an Islamic service. It was fine. I was advised how to dress to be respectful and welcomed.|
After the service, the Iman came to speak with me. He was an elderly, gentle man who said he was pleased that a Toubab (a white foreigner) had come to connect with his faith. He said it was important for people of different faiths to understand each other.
I am writing this to you because I want you to know that this African man, with few possessions, not a widely travelled man, not sophisticated, did far far more for your faith than the loud mouth iman with the hook, than the hate, than the anger. You need to cherish these guys. Seeing the UK flag burned by people who, when it suits them, claim to be British, that hurt. If it wasn't for the Gambian I would be so angry with Islam. As it is, I just hope he prevails.
|05 /04/ 2004
I am a white Englishman of Christian background. I have been able through my work to meet many people from many different backgrounds and consider myself fortunate to have amongst my friends a couple of Muslims, a Polish Jew and a Sikh and we have many discussions about religion, politics and the state of the world. I was also fortunate to know well a Muslim Doctor who was without doubt one of the gentlest and caring of men I have ever met and was also very devout and made his pilgrimage to Mecca every year.
What I have learnt from these friends is that all normal people from whatever background are essentially good loving caring family people and totally abhor criminal activity and especially terrorism in whatever form.
I also know from my Muslim friends that Islam is a peaceful religion that promotes peace and goodwill and is totally againgst violence.
What concerns me is that Muslims are currently having a tough time with certain elements of society considering that all Muslims are potentially terrorists and should be regarded with suspicion when I know that this is not the case.
I can understand why this is happening. There are many people in this country who have not had the pleasure of knowing people form different cultures and base their opinions on what they see in the press and on television. This does not mean that the reporting of events is necessarily wrong but news reporting tends to focus on bad things and all the terrorism being reported generally has a Muslim link to it.
It strikes me that these fanatics, fundamentallists , call them what you will are hijacking what should be the good name of Islam for their own ends and that people without knowledge of the reality of your faith only see these negative aspects and form their opinions on that basis.
I understand that unlike the Christian faith for example there is no appointed head representative of Islam and therefore no one single voice/authority to outlaw/disavow these extremists and this in turn allows them to proliferate.
I was very pleased to see your announcement decrying these elements and encouraging your good people to help the police in flushing them out.
Can I humbly suggest that despite all the bad stuff there is here a golden opportunity to show what true Islam is all about and promote cross faith cooperation to outlaw and humiliate these people that usurp Islam's good name.
What is needed is for all good Muslims to become vocal in decrying terrorism, publicly outing the offenders and possibly conduct mass marches against terrorism. These marches could be multi faith events.
This sort of action would get reported in the media and show the true nature of Islam.
It would also bring the Muslim and non Muslim communities together in one cause and promote understanding.
It would also severly restrict the abilities of these extremists to operate and recruit people.
I am aware that the above may be over simplistic and would value your views on what I have said
|05 /04/ 2004
I congratulate you on the recent letter to all mosques. It was a very desirable move, and has attracted much favourable publicity.
Britain is our home (I have lived here for 51 years, since I was 2 years old) and we muslims should be a beacon of common sense.
|Dear Mr Banglawala and Mr Sacranie
Asalam - o - alaikum
Many thanks for sending the letters to the UK mosques asking for their co
-operation in rooting out so called memebers of our faith that are
preaching hatred. I am sick and tired of e-mails, letters and general whinging by
some members of our faith in the UK who appear to have their heads buried in
the sand. There is this constant talk of this war against Islam but what is
not being realised is that the real enemies of Islam are these extremists i.e.
who subscibe to ideas propagated by Osama bin Laden, Al - Mohajiroun and
their cronies etc. They are the biggest non believers. These derenged
individuals exist in our community, small in number thanks to Allah, and
are, through their actions, targetting Islam. Their actions, words etc.
are leaving us open to victimisation and if they carry on there could be
widespread violence against us. They are the enemies of Islam (along with
I thank you again for your action in openly using the media to project our
co operation. In response to those that have criticised your actions, how
else is the MCB to dispel the growing notion that Islam equates with
violence. If the MCB does not use the media then how else is it expected
to do so? It is a reality that these sick individuals exist in our community.
I was approached at University years ago by such groups and I know that,
although the perceived numbers may be an exaggeration, their presence is
I was dismayed by some of the content of Lord Carey's speech but not all
of it. Some of the criticism made me think. I am aware that the media has
failed to cover our comdemnation of terrorist acts in the name of Islam as
it wiould rather cover the 'juicy' bits, but have we really done enough?
One million people, including vast numbers of non-muslims, rallied gainst the
war in Iraq and said 'not in our name'. Have we done something similar to
show that these despicable acts are not in our name i.e. not in the name
of Islam? Perhaps the council could organise such a march where we could
display placards of Osama bin Laden and perhaps more 'UK covered' idiots
like Sheikh Bakri and 'Captain Hamza Hook' with the word 'evil' under
This would show that our religion does not stand for such things.
There are a number of gross injustices against Muslims, the obvious
Palestine and the American hypocrisy assocaited with it all. 90% of the
criticism against our comminity is wrong and biased, but let us just take
a moment to consider the 10% that is correct. Let us act openly, use the
media wisely (like others do to condemn Islam) to spread our word of peace and
prevent what could turn into injustices against Muslims in the UK and
Europe. If we sit in a state of ignorance and lack of action we shall
suffer intimidation and maybe worse.
I would apprecaite a reply from Mr. Sacranie/ Mr. Banglawala if time
permits. Please do post this on your website.
Thank you and Khudahafiz
Get out of Great Britain while you can as the White people are blaming everyone who is Islamic. Tell your friends, the boats are waiting. It's going to get ugly and I feel that the good people of the Muslim faith will be discriminated. The Government has deemed the new era "an era of dark justice for muslims".
The Jews fled Germany now the Muslims must flee Great Britain for fear of persecution.
Dear Mr Sacranie|
I heard you on a radio interview , talking about the possibility of organising a march by Muslims, voicing opposition to terror. I welcome this. Its a positive gesture on part of Muslims living in Britain towards people who understand little or nothing about Islam. However , if it goes ahead , I would urge the MCB to consider voicing the following message on its platform , namely that Muslims are opposed to state terrorism too. The Iraqi invasion last year being an acute case in point. PM Tony Blair may welcome the MCB's recent communication to Britains mosques , but he should not be allowed to forget the resentment felt by most Muslims - following his alignment with President Bush in invading and occupying Iraq. In fact , it wont surprise me if we later discover that the Muslim terror suspects held currently by police , were in part motivated by anger over Iraq. ( Assuming they are guilty ).
A reply would be much appreciated.
Yours in Islam,
For further information please contact the MCB:
The Muslim Council of Britain
London E15 1NT
Tel:0208 432 0585/6
Fax:0208 432 0587