Commentary on "Islam-is-Peace"

Link to Islam Is Peace
Web site | Press Release (PDF)

Islam-is-Peace is a public relations campaign of British Muslims begun in September 2007.

"The Campaign aims to correct misconceptions about British Muslims and their faith and help create a more tolerant and inclusive society"

Islam-is-Peace appears to do nothing to solve the real problems of Islam in the UK, so it is hard to believe that it will achieve those aims.

(Another such campaign is at Comments on "Inspired by Muhammad").



What do non-Muslims want?

It is useful to have something to compare the Islam-is-Peace website against. This question is answered comprehensively elsewhere on this website:

Summary of topics on that page:

  • Integration not multiculturalism
  • Adherence to law and enlightened values
  • No creeping Islamisation
  • Evidence of a better future
  • Immigration conforming to this scenario

If all of these were achieved, British Muslims would themselves see improvements in how they were perceived, and become confident about their acceptance in our communities. It is unrealistic to expect non-Muslims in the UK to change their perception of British Muslims unless Muslims themselves eliminate objectional things done in the UK in the name of Islam.

(Racists and bigots would remain a problem).


The Islamic environment

Islam in its natural state

Abrogation

Abrogation results in chronologically-later parts of the Koran superseding chronologically-earler parts. The early parts tend to be more benign, because they arose when Muhammed had few supporters and less military power. They are therefore convenient for "cherry picking", because they show a side of Islam which is more acceptable to enlightened people. But according to abrogation, which is accepted by typical Islamic scholars, those benign early parts do not apply!

Islam is a way of life. The best way of judging it is "in its natural state", where there is the maximum opportunity for the community of Muslims to adopt their own way of life, and minimum interferences from non-Islamic influences. This typically means at least some of the Islamic states.

Islam "in its natural state" is currently at best medieval, (for example, its typical attitude towards science), and at worst intolerant and barbaric, (for example, various aspects of Sharia Law including attitude towards women, intolerance towards other religions, and immature and exaggerated reactions to criticism).

Reports of medieval practices and barbarism (not just terrorism) in Islamic states are published worldwide. It is seen by many in the UK, probably including many British Muslims.

Islam in general in the UK

Individual Muslims may be far more enlightened than Islam itself, of course! This is especially true where they are integrated minorities in non-Islamic states such as the UK. (Integration at best includes dispersal. At least it includes: speaking English, and inter-trading and/or inter-marriage between communities).

But it is clear that even within the UK there is the full spectrum from integrated to unintegrated, and from enlightened to unenlightened. (Perhaps some British Muslims are influenced by the reports of barbarism in the rest of the world and see it as true Islam).

Islam-is-Peace only speaks for part of this spectrum, the relatively integrated and enlightened subset. But non-Muslims have to live with, and take into account, the whole spectrum!

The need for reform

Surely no one doubts that massive reforms are needed across the Islamic world, including the UK? Such reforms are impeded by irrelevant diversions and by denial. Denial will result in the deniers losing credibility.


The 5-point plan of Islam-is-Peace

These are transcribed from the "Aim" page of the campaign's web site:

1. Islamophobia

"To fight Islamophobia; to monitor and fight Islamophobia wherever it occurs".

"Islamophobia" is often used as an attempt at censorship. A phobia is an irrational fear. But fear of Islam is rational.

How prevalent is Islamophobia? Muslims are often over-sensitive to things that other groups wouldn't be concerned with, for example their reaction the Muhammad Cartoons and Salman Rushdie affairs. This appears to include paranoia that would "deduce" Islamophobia where it didn't exist.

2. Dialogue

"To create dialogue; to create permanent channels of dialogue and debate between the Muslim community and the rest of Britain, ensuring that your voice is always in the mainstream media, to partner with business and government to ensure that our concerns about racism and social exclusion are understood".

This is about Muslims stating their concerns. It isn't about Muslims listening to the concerns of non-Muslims.

3. Conflict elsewhere

"To call on our government to work towards a just and lasting peace in areas of conflict around the world helping eliminating the injustices that create division and nurture violence".

This is a distraction. We don't hear other identifiable minority groups making such statements. The subtext tends to be "Muslims worldwide have a group identity, and this sometimes takes priority over citizenship". See also Are Muslims united?

4. Creative

"To be creative; to ensure that we have our finger on the pulse of the British mainstream, to understand what our community wants the world to hear".

This too is about telling, not listening.

5. Friendships

"To create friendships; to create a culture of understanding, to create a future of dialogue and a lot of new friendships, after all the Prophet (PBUH) said anyone who believes in Allah, must be good to his neighbour".

Those are empty words

Summary

None of the 5 points addresses the concerns of non-Muslims.

These points show denial, by failing even to acknowledge that the concerns of non-Muslims exist and have a real basis.


"Find out about Islam" at Islam-is-Peace

These are comments on statements made in the main "Find out about Islam" part of the web site. The headings below are the same as the headings of the web site.

Islam

"The unifying belief in one God brings Muslims from all over the world together as one family".

Muslims across the world are split into several denominations, sometimes at war with one-another. Some Muslims of any one denomination may not accept that those in other denominations are true Muslims. Sometimes Muslims of a particular denomination will be expelled from an Islamic state that believes the denomination is heretical. (When the Pakistan National Assembly declared Ahmadis to be non-Muslims, Abdus Salam, later to win a Nobel Prize, left in protest).

However, it is true that Muslims often see themselves as part of the Ummah, a global community of Muslims. Sometimes Muslims have more loyalty to the Ummah than to their country, including the UK, and act against their country. This accounts for many of the acts of violence seen in the UK, and also the hatred towards the UK openly expressed by some British Muslims.

Islam at a Glance

"Islam is not a new religion but the final culmination and fulfilment of the same basic truth that God revealed through all His prophets to every nation".

Nothing was revealed to every nation! Islam started as a local religion as all religions do, (in what is now Saudi Arabia), then spread by conquest and forced conversion.

Islam is incompatible with Christianity, just as Christianity is incompatible with Judaism. In fact, Islam claims that the Bible was corrupted by Satan, and the Qur'an exists to correct this corruption. Many nations don't have any of these as their main religion, if they have one.

Beliefs

"The Qur'an exists exactly as it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It has not been changed".

The Qur'an is incomplete, contradictory, ambiguous, and dependent on esoteric interpretation. One story is that Caliph Uthman had all contradictory versions destroyed to ensure that Muslims could later claim that it was perfect.

Lifestyle

Marriage
"In Islam a woman ... is entitled to inherit in her position as mother, as wife, as sister and as daughter".

But a daughter is only entitled to inherit half as much as brothers and sons!

Marriage
"The Qur'an also forbids harshness towards wives".

Sura 4 verse 34 describes the circumstances when a Muslim husband should beat his wife.

Women in Islam
"We will show you how the advent of Islam led to women of pre-Islamic Arabia securing the same, if not greater, rights and freedoms that women in this society have only secured in the past 100 years, after a long and bitter struggle".

We should compare Islam with life in the non-Muslim world in the 21st Century. Earlier dates are irrelevant! And this is the problem with Islam - it can't adapt to the 21st Century CE, because it is claimed to be the eternal word of Allah, frozen in the morality of a particular community in the 7th Century CE.

Reform, including modernisation, is typically considered to be heresy and meets resistance, often involving death threats (which are sometimes carried out).

Women in Islam
"It also taught that daughters were not to be treated less favourably than sons".

But a daughter is only entitled to inherit half as much as brothers and sons!

Women in Islam
"Justice, however, acknowledges the fact that men and women are different in their mental, physical and emotional make up. They are presented with different opportunities in life and have different roles to play".

This is an another example where Islam can't adapt to the 21st Century CE. It is one of the reasons that Islam is inherently incompatible with Universal Human Rights, and also incompatible with equality laws in the UK.

History of Islam

Impact of Islam
"The achievement of scholars working in the Islamic tradition went far beyond translation and preservation of ancient learning. These scholars built upon and developed the ancient heritage before passing it on to the West".

Then they stopped, at least 7 centuries ago! For example, there have been only two Muslim Nobel Prize winners in science, (Abdus Salam and Ahmed Zewail), and neither of them did their work in Islam states. There appears to be an antipathy towards science and research-and-development in most of the Islamic world, with further evidence being the low proportion of domestic product spent on these. (The Organization of the Islamic Conference is aware of this).

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
"After several years, the Prophet (pbuh) and his followers returned to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies and dedicated the Ka'bah to the worship of the One God. Before the Prophet (pbuh) died at the age of 63, the greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and within a century of his death, Islam had spread to Spain in the west and as far east as China".

This was primarily achieved by force of arms and conquest, then conversion to Islam under threat. (Or the optional alternative of taxation for Christians and Jews).

Ethical Issues

Legal
"According to Islamic law, the following two crimes can be punishable by death: Intentional murder ... Fasad fil-ardh ("spreading mischief in the land") ...".

Many consider that apostasy, ceasing to be a Muslim, is also to be punished by death. Sometimes this is carried out.

Social
"Muslims are not a distinct racial or ethnic group but a family united by faith".

But ... Muslims often treat criticism of Islam and of Islamic practices as racism.

Social
"How does Islam guarantee Human Rights?"

Islam is inherently incompatible with Universal Human Rights. So-called Islamic Human Rights are actually permissions given by Allah (according to Shariah Law), not rights. And they come with corresponding duties.

Misconceptions

Islamic Fundamentalism
"Do the teachings of Islam encourage terrorism? The answer: Certainly not!"

We don't want to know the opinion of some (not all) Muslims. We want terrorism in the name of Islam to stop! If we are killed, those opinions didn't make the required difference.

FAQ

What is the Sunnah/Hadith?
"This refers to the practice and example of the Prophet (pbuh), the second source of inspiration and instruction for Muslims".

These are a number of collections, and different Muslims accept different versions, so they are not simple a second source. There are significant differences between Shia and Sunni recognition.


Are Muslims united?

The "Muslims United" campaign section of the web site says:

"The Muslim communities across Britain are united in condemning the attempted bombings in London and Glasgow".

Community leaders may well be united. But that doesn't mean all Muslims in Britain are united, of course! Those attacks needed support, or at least silence by people "in the know", and they weren't among the people condemning the attacks.

It is clear that indoctrination of some Muslims youths continues. (See links under "Future problems" on the right). This doesn't appear to be mentioned by Islam-is-Peace.

"We call on our government to work towards a just and lasting peace in areas of conflict around the world and to take the lead in helping eliminate the injustices and grievances that foment division and nurture violence".

This is a frequent statement by Muslims while condemning incidents in the UK. The subtext appears to be that conflict in the rest of the world affecting Muslims makes British Muslims more likely to take action against others in Britain. In other words, it is an excuse, giving the Ummah high priority compared with British Citizenship.

It is also disingenuous. Many of the areas of conflict affecting Muslims around the world have Muslims at least partly to blame. The following may be true:

  • Most of the people killed by Muslims are Muslims.
  • Most of the people who kill Muslims are Muslims.

In particular, "Shia versus Sunni" has been described as the world's longest running feud (2004). The clash between Sunni and Shia Muslims across the Arab world may be the greatest single cause of strife around the globe (2007). But conflicts within either of these groups, plus barbaric practices such as extreme punishments, also kill many Muslims within Islamic states. The UK can do little to help eliminate these. They have to be achieved by Muslims themselves.


Conclusion

There is no acknowledgement by Islam-is-Peace of the real (and typically visible) problems with Islam across the world, nor with its problems in the UK. While many British Muslims are peaceful, how can we predict them? What can be done about the others?

We don't just want to be assured that many British Muslims behave peacefully. We already knew that. We want the all-too-visible problems caused by Islam in Britain to go away!

The campaign and its web site presents a sanitised version of Islam in order to protect moderate Muslims. But doing so gives a dangerously misleading picture of the true nature of Islam "in its natural state" and in some Muslim communities in Britain. It acts as a "public relations" cover-up, ducking real problems and giving us no confidence that the situation will improve.