Elections 2015 – Message to the Muslim Community: Neither Assimilate nor Isolate, Rather Interact with the Society According to Islamic Values
The 2015 UK elections are upon us. For Muslims, the climate in 2015 is very different to previous elections. Throughout 2014, the British press and political parties aggressively targeted Islamic beliefs and values on a host of issues, from halal meat to Islamic schools. 2015 started with the CTS Act becoming law, enforcing the ‘Prevent’ programme that aims to secularise Muslims in the name of ‘de-radicalisation’. Now, a new ‘counter extremism’ policy is on its way that will grant the state even greater powers to target Muslims.
These events have prompted Muslims to ask searching questions: why are the government and media so aggressive? What is the future for my children? Where is this all going? Even Muslims who once felt Britain had happily accommodated Islam are now questioning this view.
This election is therefore being fought at a time when Muslims are asking fundamental questions about their future. Whilst some still eagerly peddle the need to ‘vote’, their arguments have been debased by the hostility Muslims now suffer at the hands of the policies of all political parties and the failed track record of Muslim MPs.
It was only a matter of time before the Muslim community woke up to the disastrous state of politics in the UK. Political parties have created distrust, apathy, unhappiness and deep disappointment in the wider society. Trust in the political system is at a historic low, and people are deserting the system in their droves.
For the Muslim community – with its distinct beliefs and values – the political system continues to lose even greater credibility, as does the question of participation. There are now more pressing concerns facing Muslims about upholding Islam in this toxic climate and their future. In light of this, we raise four distinct points:
1. Our Priority: Upholding Islamic Values
Muslims in the UK must continue to ‘uphold Islam and become its ambassadors': to understand Islam, practice it, teach it, raise our children on it and – importantly – share it with the wider society. This includes supporting our Ummah and the solution to the devastation in the Muslim lands –Khilafah on the Prophetic method. Whilst this appears difficult in the current climate, it invites the pleasure of Allah (swt) for standing by His message.
Allah (swt) says: “And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, “Indeed, I am of the Muslims.” [Translated Meaning Quran Surah Fussilat: 33]
Our path is not to adopt or ‘assimilate’ into the UK’s secular liberal values and beliefs. If Muslims did this, they would go the way of other secularised religious communities and divorce themselves from a part of Islam itself – from its political, societal and economic aspects – eventually becoming no different from the west and suffering the same consequences: youth problems, family breakdown, sexual and social chaos. This is not an option for Muslims – as it means reneging on Islam and turning against the way of life prescribed by Allah (swt).
Allah (swt) says: “And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind.” [Translated Meaning Quran Surah Ta-Ha: 124]
‘Upholding Islam’ however cannot be done through isolating ourselves – we must interact with others in the wider society, to present and clarify the Islamic message. So whilst Muslims reject ‘assimilation’, we must also reject ‘isolation’. We embrace ‘interaction’ with others on the Islamic basis, both within and outside our community.
Political participation however will not deliver this vision. In fact it will systematically move Muslims away from this vision into adopting liberal secular values that are at odds with Islam.
2. This Political Process Secularises the Community
The aim of encouraging Muslims to participate in the secular politics of Westminster is to see Muslims endorse and adopt this non-Islamic secular political system, its values and policies.