Today I am feeling distressed, disturbed and frankly tired. I’ve read two different news stories today to do with Muslims and even though the first is a positive one, the analysis that I’ve heard of it was negative. Let me elaborate.
The first story was about the ‘Islamification of Britain-Record numbers embrace Muslim faith’. Judging by the title it seems derogatory, I really dislike the word ‘Islamification’, to begin with it’s not even a proper word. When I think of ‘Islamification’ I think of BNP and EDL members holding up posters demonstrating STOP THE ISLAMIFICATION OF BRITAIN. Anyway it resonates negatively in my mind. Having said that the article is a positive one for me as a Muslim to read, even though the terrorist connotations are antagonistic, but how can a newspaper write about the Muslim faith without dropping in the words ‘terrorism’ and ‘extremism’? The article says that many thousands of Britons have converted to Islam and the majority are women.
Some of the inflammatory things I’ve heard are that young Muslim boys prowl and seek out non-muslim girls so they can convert them, as conversion is highly regarded in Islam. Or that the women who convert are vulnerable or people are rebelling against the system and becoming Muslim, as Islam is the new nemesis for the West.
Has it occurred to the critics that the reason that there are now thousands of converts in Britain, could be because these individuals have seen the beauty of Islam? The justice, the humanity and the peace in Islam? Not the Islam that is portrayed in the media or the Islam represented by a small minority of misguided ignorant extremists. Could it be because these individuals have chosen to reject some of the negative aspects of British society which encompasses drinking and promiscuity? And embrace Islam which shares many of the core British values such as tolerance, charity, equality and humanity.
The second story actually made my stomach churn. The Times exposed a culture of silence that has facilitated the sexual exploitation of hundreds of young British girls by pimp gangs. 57 men were convicted for crimes like rape, child abduction and indecent assault of which 53 were Asian, mostly British Pakistanis. And to add salt to the wound, 50 were Muslim. As you can imagine I was shocked and horrified at this, for many reasons. The first thing is why emphasise these men were Muslim? Why is it when there is a white criminal, they are called a white male but when it’s Pakistani man, they’re are referred to as a Muslim man. I cannot stand this double standard and what makes me so cross is that there is nothing ‘Muslim’ about any of this. Crimes like these are certainly not permissible in Islam. Whether the crime is against a Muslim girl or a non-Muslim girl, it is definitely not acceptable within the realms of Islam. So why associate Islam to these hideous crimes?
Secondly the question in my mind was WHY WHY WHY? Why is the incidence of Pakistanis so high in this area of crime? And British Pakistanis at that. Those who have been born and brought up in the British education system and have more than likely been exposed to the opposite sex white and non-white. It really doesn’t make much sense to me. It could be because there are generally more white girls in England than Asian girls. Secondly Pakistani men probably perceive white girls as an easy target as they are more likely to drink, and be out more in the public arena than Pakistani girls. What other reasons could there be that these men are Pakistani and the girls are white? I can probably say with confidence that majority of Pakistani men find the idea of being with a Caucasian woman very attractive but that doesn’t mean that they will all go out and rape them. What is it intrinsically about Pakistani men that have led them to commit such atrocities? I don’t have much of an answer except that I am slightly embarrassed that I am of the same community and hope these men are punished severely for the crimes. If this is really a problem like some child protection agencies and police forces say then it needs to be investigated and the root cause needs to be uncovered.
All in all I’m feeling depressed and without hope. The reputation of Islam as a religion of peace has diminished. The only stories in the media are negative ones but unfortunately the media isn’t wholly to blame. The actions of certain so-called ‘Muslims’ are so terrifying, so horrendous that the rest of us really have little chance of being heard. We are to blame for not being politicised enough, for not behaving like ambassadors to Islam as we should. Despite how wonderful our scriptures may be, we can only be judged by our actions. And I hope that the future for Muslims in Britain and all over the world is not as bleak and grey, as I feel right now.