An article by Andrew Gilligan in yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper “Islamic radicals ‘infiltrate’ the Labour Party” trails a “Dispatches” programme scheduled for broadcast today (1st March 2010).
In relation to this article, we make the following points:
1. This article and its allegations will likely fuel anti-Muslim prejudice in Britain. The article portrays the group, Islamic Forum Europe (IFE), as some kind of sinister threat to Britain, quoting Jim Fitzpatrick MP, who says the Labour party has been infiltrated by the Muslim group. It uses language designed to scaremonger, calling the group ‘fundamentalist’ and saying it ‘believes in jihad and sharia law, and wants to turn Britain and Europe into an Islamic state’ – ‘promoting Islamic social and political order’. It is worth remembering that Fitzpatrick, Gilligan and Dispatches ‘have form’ on these issues.
2. Such attacks are rank hypocrisy by the British Establishment. On the one hand they push for Muslims to assimilate more. On the other, they accuse Muslims of ‘infiltrating’ when they engage politically! It is not dissimilar to Jack Straw’s comments on a Muslim constituent wearing the niqaab. He expects her to see him as her political representative, but when she did, he hypocritically criticised her dress as an act of separation!
3. Just as Fitzpatrick’s attack on gender-segregated weddings was widely seen to be an unprincipled attempt to win votes from the BNP at the expense of his Muslim constituents, we could be forgiven for asking why Muslims should be bothered by the BNP when politicians from mainstream parties make comments such as these.
4. Hizb ut-Tahrir disagrees with IFE in its approach to political engagement in Britain. We believe that Islam does NOT allow joining secular political parties, especially when they promote policies that directly contradict Islamic values – such as the war of occupation in Afghanistan. However, this episode also confirms our view that these secular parties use Muslims for their votes, but absolutely resist any real influence of Muslims within the system.
5. Moreover, what we have said for years is that Muslims could only ever progress in secular political parties in proportion to how much they sell out their Islamic beliefs, their principles and their own communities. This episode amply illustrates that Muslims are expected to abandon their values as a ticket into the system – something not demanded of others.
6. All of this illustrates a wider view that secular Britain has one rule for Muslims, and another for everyone else; that Muslims should be viewed as ‘subjects’ or second class citizens. If anyone doubts this, they should consider that it is seen as normal that business lobbies, the environmental lobby or Zionist lobby put forward and finance candidates in mainstream parties to further their political influence – yet, if a Muslim group does the same (which we must stress we oppose from a Sharia perspective) it is seen as unacceptable.
7. Our advice to our brothers and sisters in IFE is to Stand for Islam and resist this bullying, one aim of which is to push you to distance yourselves from Islamic matters such as those mentioned in the article – jihad, Sharia law and Islamic state (or ‘Islamic political and social order’).
8. Moreover, our advice to Muslims more widely is to realise that there needs to be a thinking on political engagement that is based on Islam and that is independent from the divisiveness, scheming and corruption of secular politics. The longer Muslims continue to ‘kiss the hand that slaps them’, the longer we will remain voiceless, divided and humiliated. We can only remain dignified and united through Islam.
15th Rabi al Awwal 1431
1st March 2010