On Sunday 9th June 2013, around 300 people attended Hizb ut-Tahrir’s event in Whitechapel, East London titled “Muslim community under pressure – How should we respond?”. Hundreds attended the same event a week later in Manchester on Sunday 16th June 2013. Similar events are being held around the country.
Speakers included Dr Abdul Wahid (Chairman of the UK Executive Committee), Taji Mustafa (Media Representative) and Jamal Harwood (UK Executive Committee).
Dr Abdul Wahid said that whilst the Woolwich killing was wrong, the subsequent non-stop condemnation by some Muslim leaders only fed into the government’s agenda to ignore the real causes of the Woolwich killing and focus attention soley on the Muslim community. He said: “Why are Muslims being asked to apologize and condemn? This act wasn’t done in our name, so why has the Muslim community become the punch bag?”
He explained how Muslim leaders who indulged in an apologetic and condemnation frenzy were getting themselves involved in a “dirty game” where unless you, the Muslims condemn, you’re also guilty for what happened in Woolwich. The government will use such acceptance of collective blame to facilitate a stream of new draconian measures targeting Muslims.
Challenging the government’s narrative
Speakers said Muslims have to challenge the government’s narrative that people carry out actions like Woolwich because they become more Islamic. In recent days, David Cameron, Tony Blair, Boris Johnson and others have said that believing in fundamental Islamic ideas, specifically – ummah, jihad, Khilafah and shariah – is what leads to Woolwich. This is nonsense and serves to shift blame onto the Muslim community, not the government’s wars in Muslim lands – which is the root source of anger.
The government’s new “Extremism Task Force” has stressed that mosques, madrassahs, and universities have to be monitored to tackle ‘extremism’ in order to avoid events like Woolwich. This is nonsensical since the alleged perpetrators were not directed to carry out their act by a mosque, university or madrassah.
Muslims must reject government’s attempts to further interfere in Mosques’ and madrasah’s and to silence discussion of fundamental Islamic ideas like shariah, Khilafah and ummah and Islamic solutions to the UK’s invasion of Afghanistan and similar matters. Sadly, visits to Mosques by the government’s Prevent program officers has caused many to refrain from addressing such issues.
The speakers advised Muslim leaders, imams, mosques and institutions to start discussing and addressing controversial topics like the fiqh of jihad – its conditions, rulings and laws pertaining to warfare – so Muslims have a clear understanding from the Qur’an and Sunnah and do not need to resort to Google for possibly inappropriate answers.
Taji Mustafa questioned what Muslims can do while the UK govt’s actions in Afghanistan continue to cause upset and anger? He said we must continue to raise our voices in opposing this government’s interference and wars in Afghanistan and should demonstrate against such actions – in solidarity with our ummah. However, our protestations and demonstrations do not prevent the UK government’s interference and killings in Afghanistan. What will really end such interference is the re-establishment of the Khilafah – a strong independent Islamic government which will use its armies to deter aggression from Western governments. This is why they now want to demonise the idea of Khilafah, shariah or ummah.
Muslims in the West must continue to support the non-violent work for the return of the Khilafah – which is going on around the world. Only the last week, Hizb ut-Tahrir held a Khilafah conference attended by 120,000 people in a stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Engage without compromise
Speakers strongly emphasised that Muslims must engage with the wider public post-Woolwich since many of our neighbours and work colleagues now have even more questions about Islam and Muslims. It is important therefore that Muslims do not hide out of fear but actually reach out to such people and take this as a massive opportunity to do dawah and clear up misunderstandings that the government and sections of the media are peddling. The speakers said this was the approach of Prophet Muhammad (saw) in Makkah and hence the example for us to follow.
The speakers advised Muslim leaders, imams, mosques and institutions to start discussing and addressing controversial topics and to open our Mosques so non-Muslims feel able to engage with us. They said the situation that we Muslims find ourselves in post-Woolwich is our test from Allah (swt) and we must remain firm in holding onto our Deen.
Hizb ut-Tahrir issued an advisory letter to community leaders after the Woolwich killing, is holding similar events around the country and has organised a series of exhibitions for non-Muslims in order to dispel myths about Islam.