Atif Imtiaz offers some advice to Muslims after a wave of negative and sensationalist headlines in the last few weeks:
"Muslims need to unplug from the mainstream media
and recognise the media cycles for what they are. There could be
countless other media cycles but this is how the media or major
sections of it decide to construct the present picture [...] At present, there is no end in sight to this
perpetual media harassment, there are enough Muslims in enough
situations throughout the world who can jump and down at the slightest
provocation to keep this harassment possible for a long time to come
yet [...] Instead we should focus our efforts on making friendships with non-Muslims from across society."
Abu Muhammad:"[The Pope's remarks lacked] sufficient concern
for historical reality and an in-depth knowledge of Muslim philosophy.
After reading the text of Ratzinger's speech quite a few times, I am
still perplexed regarding the line of his reasoning; namely that faith
in an absolutely transcendent God whose acts and will cannot be grasped
completely by human reason can possibly lead one to conceive His images
which are capricious and may be against all truth and goodness. The
argument becomes further ironic as Pope strangely chooses to abduce
views of a multifarious Muslim writer
who can equally be classified as a quasi-liberal writer/poet, a literal
jurist, a controversial philosopher, an innovative grammarian or above
all a compassionate ethicist."
Jim Tucker: "The lecture was about Logos -- reason, reasonableness, rationality --
as the necessary underpinning both of faith and secular society, that
without a common ground of reason, then conversation becomes
impossible, violence drives out discourse, and we become fragmented,
individualistic, miserable human beings, each man trapped within a self
that can never be understood by anyone else, and God Himself becomes
unknowable and beyond any hope of man's apprehension."
And by way of Tariq Nelson, I came across this blog by a Catholic from London (where the comments, sadly, reminded me of The Great Jafi), who photographed the usual collection of "professional Muslim extremists" (as my brother calls them) shouting and jeering outside Westminster Cathedral. These people, as one can see from the photos, are the usual suspects that turn up for a photo opportunity whenever they can sniff any kind of publicity (who said they were anti-modern?). They have, at one time of another, been part of the now disbanded al-Muhajiroun, al-Ghuraaba or the-group-that-wasn't-a-group-but-a-collection-of-individuals known as The Saved Sect. I wonder what pseudo-Islamic, egotistical freakshow they belong to now; Brothers Against Car Insurance? Indolent Strangers for the Welfare State?
I'm disappointed that the police actually let this collection of idiots, halfwits, morons and fools harass people leaving a church.
Dal Nun:"Tony Blair appears to be in the doldrums of his career. I doubt that
many Muslims in this country are crying too hard about this. After all,
it’s his government that has presided over two wars in Afghanistan and
Iraq, a whole raft of anti-terrorist Acts of Parliament, and a massive
burst of immigration resulting in a general worsening in the climate of
community relations [...] But if you put aside these most public of
disputes with the Muslim community, it’s amazing to look back at how
much attention Blair’s government has given to Islam, and how much
responsibility he’s hoping to place on Muslim shoulders."
Anarcho Akbar:"John Ware belongs to a gaggle of journalists, including Martin Bright,
Polly Toynbee, David Aaronovitch et al, who for one reason or another
tend to give Muslims bad copy. Not all are motivated by the same thing.
Polly Toynbee, for example, is one of the atheist-secularist crowd who
despise ALL religion with a vengeance. European history and, in Polly’s
instance, personal experience, gives credibility to such a perspective [...] However, it is extremely rare for Muslim
organisations to proffer such a nuanced critic of the personal
motivations behind anti-Muslim copy. That’s why Polly gets awards for
her 'Islamophobia'. Nor do they ever spot the obvious motivation, which
is that Musi-bashing is GOOD COPY. Muslims are the modern folk demon. Writing about the allegedly bad and stupid things they do is GOOD COPY.
If journalists have an agenda, it is one which directly attributable to
their own training, and the relationship between media and culture."
I've mentioned something similar before on the use of 'Islamophobia' by Muslims, and our general approach to criticisms of Islamic practice and beliefs. As has Atif Imtiaz, in a piece which he allowed me to reproduce on this blog, where he points to the 'cultural illiteracy' of Muslims in Britain and our inability to distinguish between anti-religious polemicists for whom Islam is merely a religion amongst many others, rhetoric for its own sake, and genuine racists and bigots out to malign Muslims.
Islamic Law, Etc:"[T]he first thing that came to mind when reading [James Madison's discussion on the establishment of religion] is the "Traditional" sort of religious leadership that is always promoted
amongst Muslims as being the crux of our "heritage" and the real
representation of how Islam is supposed to work in society. Many
aspects of a literate society would seem to take care of these
problems, yet there will always be a group of people who are a
throw-back to another century."
Austrolabe:"[W]e must make genuine connections with
religious Jews, away from the spotlight, and work together on the many
issues of common concern in a world that is increasingly hostile to
both Semitic traditions. Vitriolic anti-Jewish rhetoric is not a
triumph of our interests but rather marks a defeat of them. Our fates
in the modern world are inextricably linked to the Jews and we must
work sincerely with those who have similar qualities within their
community [...] Muslims do not realise what battles Jews fought for pluralism in the
Western democracies that were previously very hostile to them. Without
Jewish activism there would be no Islamic schools, no Halal meat and no
male circumcision and perhaps not even any mosques (remember that the
first Ottoman diplomats had to be baptised before they were allowed on
British soil at Portsmouth during the reign of Victoria)."