London, UK, October 16th – Hundreds of Muslim women attended a seminar today to discuss the anti-terror legislation and its impact upon the Muslim community. Speakers included women from various organisations and political affiliations such as Islamic Human Rights Commission, MPAC, MCB, Islamic Forum of Europe, Hhugs, and Hizb ut-Tahrir. Participants expressed their concern that the proposed anti-terror laws would place Islamic values and political opinions under the umbrella of criminality. Voicing support to the resistance of occupation in Palestine, Kashmir, and Iraq as well as advocating a Caliphate for the Muslim world could potentially be defined as "glorifying" terrorism with a prison sentence of seven years.
There was a consensus that such views are mainstream Islamic opinions. Speakers also expressed their concern that government interference in the curricula of Muslim schools and the close monitoring of activities by Muslims in mosques and Universities was aimed at creating an environment of fear to curb legitimate political _expression and to encourage Muslim youth to become pawns of the government rather than adopt an Islamic identity.
There was a message of solidarity against any attempts to divide the community through labels such as moderates and extremists, to ban non-violent Islamic political parties or to create an internal thought police within the community. Participants voiced their opposition to pressures to make the mosques, schools, and Muslim youth mouthpieces for the Blair government. Mosques would continue to be the hub of the community and places not only of personal worship but of dialogue and debate of domestic and international affairs. Muslim schools would be supported in their endeavour to not only produce students of academic excellence but confident individuals embodying core Islamic values. Muslim youth would be encouraged to become active members and contributors to British society, well educated, and morally elevated through adopting the Islamic identity. The community would also continue to voice their opposition to the oppression of Muslims globally, the occupation of Muslim lands and to call for the return of the Caliphate state.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz, the Womens' Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain commented, "This event sends a resounding message to the British government that Muslim women in the UK will not be intimidated by the politics of fear being utilised to silence our voices about issues which lie at the heart of our community. These laws will place all Muslims under the label of "extremism" and create further alienation from the wider society. This would fuel a rise in Islamophobia rather than improving community relations that is essential during these difficult times. The statement therefore that the Muslim community supports these anti-terror measures or the ban on organizations such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir is as elusive as Mr. Blair's justification for the Iraq war."
"Muslim women in the UK will continue to work to build a strong adherence to the Islamic way of life within our community. We believe that Islamic values such as respect for parents and elders, honesty in transactions, good treatment of neighbours, loyalty within marriage, honour of women, abhorence of racism, and respect for other religions has a lot to offer a British society that has a moral crisis. We hope to build a community that will be a shining example of citizenship through maintaining our Islamic identity. In addition, we will support the work for the establishment of the Caliphate which we believe will be a model to the world of the justice and care that is deserving for the citizens of the world."
Dr Nazreen Nawaz
Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain