Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Lebanon

'Schindler's List' begins with:

Whoever saves one life,
Saves the world entire.

Monday, July 03, 2006

A year on

Almost everyday a bomb explodes in Iraq, and sometimes 30 people are killed, and sometimes 60.

Almost a year ago, four bombs were set off across London's transport system and more than fifty people were killed in what were later described by the lead bomber as revenge attacks for the invasion of Iraq.

There are few objectives higher within Islamic law than the protection of human life. And if anything has improved since last year, it is that there is greater moral clarity on this matter.

The ‘Imams’ roadshow’, as it has unfortunately become to be known, has lead to some scholars asking why they have not been invited to speak. This request seems strange to me, as they speak every week and have done so since September 11, from the mimbar. Nobody has prevented any of these scholars from answering what must be one of the most serious moral questions their congregations face, the right to take life. They can still do so, because they believe it to be right and important. That is, they believe it to be an important part of upholding the Divine Command.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks however, there was an attempt to link the terrorism issue to the integration discussion. That is, that the terrorists attacks were due to a failed multiculturalist policy. Those with an explicit (or sometimes implicit) anti-Muslim agenda have attempted to link the two. The problem is with religious identity, they say, and the manner to deal with it is through assimilation. This argument gathered steam last summer. Even today, writers like Melanie Phillips and Michael Gove are still advocating such extreme positions. Worryingly, Michael Gove is part of David Cameron’s kitchen cabinet. Many of us have spent most of last year trying to point out that terrorism is related to politics and integration to liberalism as law and culture.

Simultaneously, the 'progressive' movement has caused some concern within Muslim circles, people have pointed to the compromises that the progressives are advocating. But this disregard for the law is repeated by those who adopt morally ambivalent stances towards the killing of innocents. This is exactly why the reformist argument fails. Abdul Hakim Murad pointed this out in his booklet ‘Understanding the Four Madhabs’ about a decade ago. Aftab Malik has also published a wonderful book on this matter and it deserves to be read by everybody concerned by these issues. Anarchy can only be defeated through a respect for the law, especially when it is against our nafs.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Victimhood or victimisation?

A young man is woken up in the middle of the night. He hears noises from downstairs, he runs downstairs. And he is shot.

A young man is sent to jail for a ninety day sentence. He is put in the same cell as a violent racist. The night before he is due to leave, he is battered to death.

Two innocent men on the receiving end of institutionalised injustice. After much hand-wringing, no one has been charged or suspended for both crimes.

Somewhere else, a nation that is supposed to be free is collectively and comprehensively punished for the crime of a few. The world watches.

Where is justice in all of this?

And yet, there are so many other incidences that many of us never hear about.