Phone Hacking Scandal Exposes the Corruption of Democracy
What Muslims can offer this society
Britain is in crisis – the third major crisis of confidence in its formerly trusted institutions since 2008. The News of the World scandal has gone beyond the disgrace of hacking the phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and the families of bomb victims. The scandal has exposed the corrupt relations that have existed for years between politicians, press and the police.
Britain, Europe and America once prided themselves as superior to the 3rd world, where inequality and injustice are rife, political corruption commonplace and violence and conflict the norm. They attributed this superiority to their capitalist system, secular creed and democratic system.
But all of that has been undone in last few years. The effects of the collapse of the economic system following the financial crisis of 2008 are still unraveling today. The political system was exposed as corrupt in the MPs expenses scandal of 2009. Now it has taken a further hit, along with the media and police. Moreover, the talk about human rights and rule of law has long since looked ridiculous after the war on terror, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and cases of torture.
None of these are because the system has gone wrong. They are actually the results of the materialistic system of this society. The financial crisis is a product of the culture of greed supported by an interest-based system and gambling economy. The MPs expenses scandal occurred because the banishment of religion from life’s affairs has led to society that collectively lacks a moral compass; and because of democracy’s mixing of money and power that brings corruption wherever it is. This has also been, in part, the cause of the current scandal, which has also exposed a system where the ‘free market’ encourages newspapers to entertain with gossip, backbiting and slander. The so-called ‘free’ press has been exposed as being free to make money in whichever way it can; and to use underhand means in the process!
The secular capitalist system benefits a small group of wealthy people at the top of society who make their millions through a system that harms society, which has led to the breakdown of family life, financial collapse and corruption in the police and parliament. It is the system that said it would make poverty history in Africa, but instead institutionalized it with crippling debt interest.
This is the system its supporters wish to see in the Muslim world. This is the system they say should replace the dictatorships that Muslims across the world are rising up to overthrow. It is a government by the people, for the rich and powerful.
The events of the past few years show just how fragile a system it is. And there is a lesson for Muslims, who are looking for a real change from their current misery.
Allah (swt) teaches us in the Quran that ‘Those who take protectors other than Allah can be compared to spiders building themselves houses – the spider’s is the frailest of all houses – if they could only understand’ [TMQ Surah Al Ankabut 29:41]
As Muslims who are part of this noble Ummah, living in the heart of a system in decay, in a city where they seek to decide the future of the Muslim world, we have a valuable role in encouraging people to think about the choice that is on offer. Indeed, Allah (swt) teaches that human beings will be lost unless they call for an alternative to the misguided ways that oppress people.
The events of the last few years have exposed the flaws of this secular democratic system and the true face of global capitalism. The rich and wealthy, who have built a system of politics, media and business to ensure they continue to enrich themselves, are the real beneficiaries, whilst the ordinary people in society have to pay the price.
Taxpayers paid billions of pounds to bail out the banks after the financial crisis caused by the rich and wealthy. The bubble of the casino economy run by the banks and supported by the politicians has now burst leaving ordinary people both in the west and the east facing cuts in public services, job losses and rising food prices.
This injustice is sustained and facilitated by the so-called ‘democratic’ political system. The events of the banking crisis and the phone hacking scandal have exposed the cozy relationship between prime ministers, big businesses and media corporations – that is universal in the democratic system. The politicians depend on these huge business and media corporations to bring them to power; and once in power they make laws that serve themselves or further the business interests of such corporations.
It comes as no surprise that politicians legislate in favour of big business in societies where money and material pleasure are the end goal in life.
This is the system that has been exported to the Muslim world and is the cause of much of the misery in our countries.
Muslims must realize that there is an alternative. Allah (swt) revealed Islam as a complete system for mankind. It first established a balance in society between seeking material pleasure and fulfillment of spiritual and moral values. It did not deny man’s desire for material pleasure but regulated it in a way that does not cause fitnah in society. Islam provided an economic system that prohibited interest and gambling, and encouraged business so that money circulates in society rather than being hoarded amongst the rich. Islam prohibited the exploitation of women but encouraged women to be active participants in society. Islam provided a political system where the laws of the Shariah bind the rulers, such that they cannot be influenced to legislate for the benefit of the few. It obliged the people to elect and account their rulers according to the standards set by the Shariah.
This political system is the Islamic Khilafah that RasoolAllah (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) established as an example for us to follow. This is the system we need to uphold and present as an example to the whole of mankind.
As the decay of the western way of life becomes clearer with each crisis, it is the Muslim Ummah that needs to present a new alternative to the world. An Islamic system will end the obsession of materialism that is destroying society and the environment, stand up for the poor, stand against the sexual exploitation of women and children, the scourge of nationalism and racism, and stand up to the global injustice created by secular capitalism. This is surely a time for the Muslim Ummah to look to Islam as an alternative rather than look to the western civilization, which people in the west are now questioning!
Dear Muslims: The events in Britain today should remind us, more than ever, to look at the system Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) brought and see how it can be applied in today’s world – to solve problems and bring humanity out of darkness into light.
If we truly wish to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wassallam) we must carry Islam as an alternative to the oppression and corruption we see around us and we must invite others to it to offer them some hope of a better life – in this world and the next.
“…Establish salah; command what is right; forbid what is wrong; bear anything that happens to you steadfastly; these are things to be aspired to.” [TMQ Surah Luqman 31:17-19]
19th Shaban 1432
20th July 2011