The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams gave an interview to the BBC on 7th February 2008 in which he proposed that some aspects of Shariah law could be incorporated into English law.
The responses to his comments have been vitriolic. The media provocatively reported his words that it was ‘unavoidable’ that Muslims would have Shariah law in the UK, opening a familiar attack on Islam. Prime Minister Gordon Brown entered the debate saying that laws in Britain should only be based on British values – although where lucrative profits for the City of London are concerned, he is happy to promote Britain as a centre for Shariah compliant finance. A typical response to the William’s interview on websites was: "Muslims are running away from this barbaric law which is practiced in their own countries, once here they want to bring this barbaric law with them. If they want this law they could go and live in a country that practices this law."
The perverse irony is that the politicians who make policies that encourage such a hostile climate also make policies to prevent Muslims from establishing the Shariah in the Muslim world. The ‘war on terror’ was, in the words of Bush and Blair, to prevent the rise of a Khilafah and Shariah. The support for tyrants who crush all Islamic political opposition has continued for decades for the same purpose. Although Brown said that laws in Britain should only be based on British values, successive western governments have worked to force laws everywhere in the world to be based on secular liberal values.
It is the height of conceit that these politicians, who approved the bloodshed in Iraq and Afghanistan to export this secular system, 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. It is this supremacist desire of western governments to enforce western secular values on the Muslim world that is the real problem in the world, and not a fabricated campaign of Muslims to enforce Shariah laws on the people of Britain. In fact, this fabrication of a campaign to establish Shariah in Britain is nothing more than part of a propaganda campaign to justify and fuel Britain’s global agenda to prevent the rise of the Caliphate, so as to secure its colonial interests.
To seek to organise marriages and divorce, inheritance, food regulations and personal financial arrangements within our community is not a campaign for the establishment of Shariah. It is to live our lives according to Islam, in a personal space. Yet, some amongst politicians and the media have sought to use this as another Muslim bashing exercise, encouraging an out pouring of abuse against Shariah, and comments that if Muslims want it, they should leave. These events only go to show the inherent intolerance of western liberal values. The irony is that the Islamic Khilafah state protected the rights of minorities and allowed minorities to live according to their laws within their personal lives and religious codes.
Moreover, whilst people will say they do not want to see Shariah punishments in Britain, it is rich of the critics in this society – with its high levels of theft, murder, rape and other crimes – that they lecture Muslims on their choice of law in the Muslim world.
Prejudice is not a new thing for many Muslims in Britain. Xenophobia and the inherent assumption of superiority is part of Europe’s tradition. Germany in 1930’s and Bosnia in 1990’s illustrate the worst of Europe’s treatment of minorities. The experience of Blacks and Asians, Jews, Catholics, the Irish and other minority communities’ show just how common bad treatment of minorities has been in the UK.
So how should Muslim’s respond?
We should realise that this media propaganda is a deliberate provocation. This is a means to set people against each other and create fitna (division). We should show the beauty of Islam and the Shariah in our lives and show how Allah has given us a sublime deen, which brings tranquillity to the heart and mind. Such an example, where the Shariah commands us to be good to our neighbours (regardless of race or religion), good to our elders, parents and teachers, to refrain from insulting people’s beliefs, is sorely needed. It stands in stark contrast with increasing individualism and selfishness, antisocial behaviour and disrespect, and the freedom to insult and persecute that so characterises western countries today.
In this climate of attacking and smearing Islam we must stand up as a united community and enter into a vigorous debate with the way of life in the west i.e. secularism. For it is not merely that they attack Islam, it is also that they are blind to the flaws that exist in this secular system that they export across the world. While they resort to abuse and insults we should follow the example of our Prophet (SAW) and show the flaws and wrongs of western secularism that has brought so much misery to the people of the world. Rampant materialism, a widening wealth gap, individualism, rape, child abuse, racism, occupation and oppression are the fruits of a world ruled by man’s freedom to do whatever he pleases. The secular age of man has been arguably the most bloody in human history.
Secondly, we should continue to join the work to establish the Shariah in the Muslim world. Britain is where so much anti-Shariah and anti-Islam propaganda is created and exported. We need to counter this propaganda by illustrating the great weaknesses in the secular model that is so often immorally exported at the barrel of a gun, or as a condition to humanitarian aid.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) and his companions, may Allah be pleased with them all, faced such propaganda and worse during 13 years in Makkah. They restricted their response to words, arguments and a battle of ideas without raising a finger in action. This is the battle that the enemies of Islam fear, and why they attack with smear, exaggeration, insults and hate speech.
Our goal, dear brothers and sisters, is to voice the message of Islam strongly to those around us, and to stay close to Allah (swt) seeking His Help at all times.
وَإِن تَوَلَّوْاْ فَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ مَوْلاَكُمْ نِعْمَ الْمَوْلَى وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ
(TMQ al – Anfal 8:40)
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain
29th Muharram 1429
7th February 2008