Can anyone explain how an individual can join the party of a mass murderer then have the audacity to claim it was done in the interest of the victims? The claim becomes even more absurd when the individual is a member of the same community that the mass murderer preyed upon. The profile of such an individual clearly matches those Muslims standing as Labour Party candidates for the UK general election on the 5th of May.
Had Britain attacked Israel or India or Greece, for sure the Jews or the Hindus or the Greek Orthodox community in the UK would have definitely opposed the Labour Party with their tooth and nail. Anyone from their community joining with the Labour Party would be immediately branded as a traitor and ostracised. Yet, many so-called Islamic scholars, groups and individuals argue it is acceptable to undertake such a heinous and a treacherous act as joining the Labour Party? Then they have the audacity to ask the Muslim population to vote for the party of a mass murderer and commit the same obscene treacherous act. These Muslims should think how the Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan would perceive such an action from their fellow Muslims in the UK.
A vote for the Labour Party is a direct endorsement for re-electing Tony Blair and therefore endorsing his murderous campaign in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tony Blair with his army are modern day equivalent of the Mongol hordes of Hulagu Khan that devastated Baghdad in 1258 and killed around 80,000 people including women and children and the Abbasid caliph, al-Muta’sim. Blair has the blood of over 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians including women and children. So asking the Muslims to vote for Tony Blair is like asking them to vote for Hulagu Khan or Richard the Lion Heart or Abu-Jahal the leader of the Pagan Arabs.
So, do we then vote for the Conservatives or the Liberals instead? Well, first of all not only have the Conservatives supported the war but Michael Howard is now on record for saying that he too would have gone to war even without the WMDs. The Liberals are no different, they also approve the war but they wanted more UN authorisation. Meanings, if you are going to kill, at least kill them ‘legally’ and ‘morally’ through the UN! All this demonstrates the militant nature of the major British political parties; they love war, especially when it involves attacking a weak defenceless nation. It would have made past Conservatives like Winston Churchill proud as he is the one that first gassed the Iraqis in the 1930s using the “shock and awe” technology of the time, Air Planes, to spread a lively terror.
A further point to note is that the Conservatives are the traditional party of the right, a step a way from the rightwing BNP (British National Party). The party provides a good deal of coverage to those who think with the BNP mindset but want to be seen as more mainstream. Had the Conservatives been in power they would have been even more belligerent perhaps would have encouraged the use of nuclear weapons and/or helped to flatten a few more cities. Think of Conservatives as the Neo-Cons of the US, the Labour as the Republicans, the Liberals as the Democrat, yes British politics has really shifted towards the right.
Is it not strange that despite being a leading democracy, all the major political parties within the UK do not reflect the majority view of the British public who clearly opposed the Iraq war? So what do these parties represent, the masses or certain interest groups? Do the parties have any loyalty to their stated pre-election values, policies and principles regardless of what the masses think or will the parties be ‘flexible’ and sway with the masses to represent them? If it is the former, that means the parties are not representing the masses but a set of ideas, in which case the credentials of democracy would be questionable. If it is the latter then it is in line with the principles of democracy but then the party members are a bunch of unprincipled career opportunists that will be swayed to represent the most influential group at that time.
Since, all the major political parties are unified on the Iraq war; it is not a coincidence that all the Muslim candidates from these mainstream parties have the same response on this matter, which is: I disagree with my party on this ‘issue’ of war on Iraq. How can one join a party and yet dissociate from the most significant foreign policy decision to wage an unprovoked war against fellow Muslims. The only way you can disassociate yourself is to resign as did Robin Cook from the cabinet. However, Robin Cook disagreed on this issue of Iraq and from him it is just this ‘issue’ but the same cannot be said for the Muslims as the war resulted in the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of innocent Muslim lives. Hence it should have led to immediate resignation of all the Muslims members from the Labour Party, the party of Hulagu Khan.
Then we hear the second line of defence which is that we as Muslim candidates will contribute towards influencing the decisions of the party internally. This is clearly naive; leaving aside the party whip and the existing power structure and interest groups who make major contribution to party funds, the candidate can only progress through the party if it adopts the interest of the existing power structure in place. Hence he will end up being influenced instead of influencing. This is like expecting a trainee graduate to join Microsoft and then expect him to influence the decision of Bill Gates and his board of directors.
On the contrary, these Muslims candidates are used by the main parties to promote themselves amongst the ethnic groups. This is no different to those Muslims that take up the Ramadan invitation to break their Ramadan fast at US and UK embassies during the war. The government and the media used this entire episode to show Muslims endorsing their foreign policy otherwise why else would they accept an invitation. While the Muslims argue they want to influence the government as they are provided with an opportunity to express their opinions but they have no bargaining chip. Why should the government listen to them? What makes them think they are there to be listened to in the first place?
So what has been the reaction from the Muslims? As the issue of to-vote-or-not-to-vote rages within the Muslim community, their monumental failure is obvious. First is that there has been a lack of unified response of boycotting and condemnation of all the major parties for endorsing the war and especially the Labour government. You should not need an Islamic legal rulings or a fatwa to recognise this crime, this is common sense. Even many non-Muslims know this and they are boycotting the Labour Party. Secondly, no alternatives have been provided, Muslims collectively should have put forward independent candidates, to secure the Muslims interests. They would have a direct mandate from the public without the fear of the party whip or the stigma of the party policies.
Add to this is the confusion from the various Muslim groups. There have been three types of response:
Those who have argued for an active participation of the Muslim community to influence the election but to do that as a minority would have required for us to act in a unified manner targeting to get certain independent candidates into power and/or ousting the belligerent ones, e.g. Jack Straw. They did not say which party or candidate that the Muslims should vote for collectively. As a minority we are already disadvantaged and unless we use our block vote we are going to be ineffective.
Furthermore, they should have openly declared their opposition to the Labour Party for their crimes in Iraq. Hence a core policy should have been to dent the Labour Party as much as possible. If these Muslim groups genuinely opposed the war then this should have been reflected in their actions.
Those who preach the ‘Islamic-Machiavellian’ doctrine say we live in a non-Islamic society therefore we have the carte blanche to do whatever it takes to secure our benefit. We may live in a non-Islamic society but that does not give the Muslims right to build Bars, Brothels and Casinos! In the name of benefit they pronounce a divorce between international issues and local issues. The divorce is convenient as they found a new bride and that is grant money.
The grant money causes these ‘Islamic-Machiavellian’ to keep silent and thus maintaining the status-quo is their motto. Indeed they are so obsessed with building plush Mosques as if that itself is the object of worship. Hence we have the new generation of Mosque-worshippers not worshippers in Mosques! I do not understand how any practicing Muslim can have this understanding. Even the Kaba (in Mecca) is worth less than the blood of the Muslims according to the Hadith of the Prophet, yet a Mosque or some grant money down the road is the price for turning a blind eye to the slaughtering of the Iraqis, Palestinians and Afghani civilians. I mean how you can compare the blowing up of families and kids in Iraq to our new shiny Mosque! Now please, I do not wish be to the culprit that sets the puritanical fringe (the saved sect) into motion to launch the next round of ‘fatwa’ declaring more apostates.
c).Criticisms without any solution
Then comes those who sees the route of non-participation in the election process but they have not provided an alternative. The reality is we live in the UK not as temporary foreign students but as a community that is permanent. We are faced with a political system that is imposed upon us. We need to operate within this framework as best as we can by securing our rights and interests. We hear the new buzz words or spins like “direct action”; well direct action has been around for a while. Take the direct action of the millions who demonstrated against the war. The direct actions of many charity organisations within the UK are helping the poor Muslims and also preventing the Christian missionaries from converting them. We did not see much enthusiasm for direct actions then. Of course the fear of getting even more marginalised or rendered irrelevant must have propelled them to think along more practical lines.
Finally, more confusion is caused by using words like “system”. The argument for not participating in the non-Islamic System within the UK is flawed from its basis. What does the word “system” really mean? Does it only apply to the political wing of electing MPs? What about legal system? Only recently we saw Shabina Begum using that very system to acquire her right to wear the Islamic garments. What about the taxation, which drives all these systems (Economics, Political, Legal and Administrative) from their core? We all pay taxes living in the UK and hence we are part of this system by our compliance to their laws.
Instead each issue has to be examined is on its own merit. There are the legislative aspects and the political aspect, both should be taken into account. An issue may be legitimate from Islam but its usage may bring more harm than good if used at a certain point in time.
If we identity ourselves as Muslim, we cannot divorce ourselves from the wider Muslim community (Ummah), as Islam demands we view ourselves as one nation. Nor can we continue to think that we can infiltrate the system to attain our goals in the short term, equally we should not remain totally inactive because everything around us is Kufr (disbelief) as the puritanical fringe claims. If things are Kufr around us we need to turn it around otherwise migrate. A balance needs to found whereby we secure our interest with active participation, without compromising our interests, selling our brothers and sisters and continue to attract the non-Muslims into the fold the Islam.
I hope by the next general elections, Muslims unify and can present various candidates along with many of the good hearted non-Muslims who are sympathetic to our cause to secure the interests of the Muslims and help to spread the message of Islam. I hope the Muslims have an agenda that is built on commonsense, simplicity, without causing confusion; it should be a practical and effective approach. Maybe the UK then can serve as an example for the other countries in Europe with a significant Muslim population e.g. France, Germany, Holland and Belgium.