Hizb ut-Tahrir calls for debate on Secularism and Shariah
London, UK, February 8 2008 – Despite the Archbishop of Canterbury’s request for a sensible debate on the matter of Shariah in civil law, the response in the media can only be described as a fanatical and emotional outpouring of exaggeration, misrepresentative statements, untruths and sometimes vitriolic hatred.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain will be writing to politicians, journalists, academics and opinion formers over the coming week proposing an open, sensible and rational debate about secularism and the Islamic Shariah, in the context of problems in today’s world.
Commenting on this, Taji Mustafa, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said, "The response to Dr William’s comments illustrate both the profound level of ignorance in Britain about the Islamic Shariah and the near total blindness of some to the flaws within secularism and the harms it has caused in its implementation across the world. Xenophobia, the inherent assumption of superiority, and poor treatment of minorities is sadly part of Europe’s tradition. Tolerance and pluralism are hollow slogans alongside this barrage of abuse, characterising the limited ability of this secular society to accomodate difference. By contrast, the rights of minorities were protected in the Islamic tradition. The Shariah law protected the right of citizens of other minorities to live according to their faith traditions within their personal lives. Though many in the west claim to approach issues rationally, many utterly fail to respect the opinions of those they disagree with."
"Although the context of Hizb ut-Tahrir’s work is, and always has been, to work for an Islamic state in the Muslim world, the debate thus far has neglected the fact that it is not Muslims campaigning for Shariah in Britain that is a cause of tension. It is the policies of western governments to deny people’s desire to live by Shariah in the Muslim world. Indeed, it is the height of hypocrisy that politicians and media who approved the bloodshed in Iraq and Afghanistan to export a secular system to the Muslim world, cry about protecting Britain’s traditions and heritage, whilst obstructing the desire in the Muslim world to have laws that reflect their Islamic beliefs, heritage and system. For Muslims the world over, the Islamic Shariah is what brought civilisation and learning that characterised a golden age, such as that in Muslim Spain; it is the Shariah that guarantees an end to dictatorship, oppression and torture; it is the Shariah that protects family values in society; it is the Shariah that works to redistribute wealth and end poverty; it is the Shariah that restores the honour and dignity of women, allowing them to participate in society as human beings and not as commodities; it is the Shariah that protects people’s privacy; it was the Shariah that allowed Muslim, Jew and Christian to live side by side for centuries in relative harmony; it was the Shariah that brought justice and stability to what are now some of the world’s most trouble regions."
"By contrast, when Muslims the world over look at secularism, liberal democracy and the capitalist free market they see enormous problems that some in the west simply fail to acknowledge. They see the century that secularism dominated was the arguably the bloodiest in human history, causing instabilty and conflict across the world; they see record gaps between rich and poor within and between states; they see the breakdown of family life and record numbers of broken families; they see a rampant individualism and consumerism; they see people increasingly disinterested in their own political process; they see rising social problems of drugs and alcohol abuse; they see an increasingly intrusive state and a surveillance society; they see an inability to bring about societal cohesion and to tolerate difference in society; they see an aggressive and militaristic foreign policy for material resources and political dominance. These are only a few things that have contributed to the failure of secularism to gain a foothold across the Muslim world. These are all very much in need of debate and discussion."
"It is our intention to open such a debate. We hope others will join us in it. However, we expect many will run away from such an honest appraisal of both systems, prefering abuse and generalisation to debate and discussion."