One of my uncles had a rare gift of spinning stories out of hypothesis, controversies and predictions. His purpose was to acquaint others with world affairs and history in a light manner. Islam was always a favourite topic and whether it was politics, conspiracies or Islamism he tried to reason out the complications as best as he could do it. Once in a matter-of-fact way he mentioned to me the comments Francis Mitterand made in reference to Muslims, where he stated that the rising tide of Islam in
Europe can lead to
a situation making it possible for a Muslim to be elected as the French
Thirty years ago this seemed a strange prediction. Far from being interested in politics that could lead to crisis between Islam and West I did not take these comments seriously. But nowadays it is not easy to overlook that identification with Islam is creating conflicts. We hear of Sharia patrols in
UK, anti-Islam protest march in Germany, riots in Europe,
blasphemy charges raised against those who draw cartoons and drawings becoming a
frequent occurrence. It is usually dismissed that these incidences are
engineered by those who want to stir trouble, brand Islam as intolerant and not
compatible with the times.
Whether my uncle said these comments in response to the argument that Islam is a violent religion spread by the use of sword in medieval times I am not sure. He died soon after 9/11 and never got the chance to see the turn of tide where the blind conviction in Quran and Haadith as the perfect embodiment of law, led to the birth of Islamic State ISIS who believe in modern-day slavery, beheading and amputations. Islam is seen as a force which has foes and believers alike. Whether as an outcome of economic meltdown, lack of trust in politicians or suffering from affluenza (‘a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more’), all over the world the young people are turning to religion. Islam as a role model is growing, for it offers the closest example to ‘living religion’ whose adherents really believe in God and his Law. The influence of Islam is everywhere.
Hijab-clad woman greets me at the chemist, I read the word ‘halal’ emblazoned on the sign boards of many restaurants across
I walk pass prayer-rooms in airports and hospitals and I get to listen to Adhan
‘call for prayers’ on radio. Birmingham
However I fail to adhere to becoming a follower without understanding why those who believe in tolerance are ready to harass others for drawing images of the Prophet! Those who believe in Islam have a desire to see it dominate by the increase in numbers of converts. Though it is deemed that all are equal before God, yet it is constantly preached that Christians, Jews, Atheists, Hindus are less equals because they don’t follow Islam. In this day and age women are told that segregation is a way of giving them respect. Forced marriages, honour killings and violence to compel girls to cover their heads and faces is sometimes not even considered violation of basic rights for women.
Much of the sovereignty of the European states is being transferred to the European Union: radical Muslims may wonder why they should come to terms with the national governments rather than the supranational authority in
Politics may accelerate Islamization. Muslim vote will be crucial in many
elections across Brussels Europe; to win it may mean
having to woo it, notably by allowing for further consolidation of Islam in
society. Along these lines, one might also wonder whether Jacques Chirac’s
pronouncements in late 1996 strongly favouring an independent Palestinian state
and the lifting of the embargo against Iraq
were not intended to garner the Muslim vote in . One may also question why
the British government never tried to intervene to stop genocide by Assad
government in France .
Anyone who believes in the existence of specific political-religious threat will probably think of Islam first. The current debate about immigration is much more than only about ethnicity and language----it is about religion too. We must consider whether the rise of Islam means number of mosques should double, halal food distribution must boost, polygamy is to be tolerated and the Sharia police to be allowed to operate in Muslim neighbourhoods. Or Islam ought to adapt to the British values, with its emphasis on individual freedom and secularism, rather than the reverse.