By now you’d think that just about everyone would know that politicians at the national level are, in general, not to be trusted. This is blatantly obvious with the likes of Blair/Cameron but this mistrust should also extend to those portraying a seemingly populist image such as Corbyn, Farage and Johnson.
Day 1 the Prime Minister tells us how much a danger to the people, finances and fabric of Britain is Jeremy Corbyn.
Day 2 the Prime Minster is off to negotiate a better deal for Britain within the EU, presumably with the threat of a Brexit vote as leverage.
Day 3 the Prime Minster returns claiming a victory, but nobody gets excited by whatever obscure concessions he has negotiated
Day 4 the Prime Minster denounces Sadiq Khan as a sharer of platforms with terrorist sympathisers.
Day 5 the Prime Minster himself shares platforms with both Sadiq Khan and Jeremy Corbyn as part of the REMAIN campaign.
Day 6 the increasing hostile and confrontational mood in the country is brutally demonstrated by the murder of female Labour Member of Parliament, Jo Cox.
Day 7 the British vote to LEAVE the European Union.
Day 8 the Prime Minster bottles it and leaves it to someone else to say that on one hand we are honouring the vote, and on the other hand, to as much as possible keep the status quo.
The fact is that nobody told the truth. Nobody seemed remotely interested in telling the truth, the media knew this and perpetuated it with gusto. How can you blame people for whichever way they voted? For even if you believed only 30% of what you were told then the images conjured up still suggested the country was either facing economic meltdown, invasion by foreign hordes, isolation from the European continent, death of the NHS, death by EU legislation or any other equally frightening scenario depending on which way the vote went.
As Muslims let us firstly not forget that British politicians, mainly in conjunction with their ‘special’ American allies, have in recent times consistently sent British soldiers (and aircraft) across the world to ultimately kill many (very many) Muslim men, women and children. The additional outcomes being chaos, poverty, starvation and the displacement of millions of people.
The EU or wider European track record with Muslims during this time has itself been abysmal whether this has been within countries (france), within wider Europe (the Balkans) or further afield. Far from getting better, the situation has been getting progressively worse and that trend looks set to continue with various nasty bits of legislation being mooted from some corners along with the distasteful verbal output coming from emerging key players within the EU.
Of course many people seem quite clear what the Muslim response to the referendum should have been, namely:
• Vote Leave
• Vote Remain
• Spoil Your Ballot
• “Leave Me Alone, I’m Fasting”
For me it seemed much more of that fabled choice between “a rock and a hard place.”
So now that the vote has been won or lost, depending on your current viewpoint, there are three immediate questions we need to be asking and ensuring that we get answered.
1. What will be the UK government and also the media position to British and other Muslims post Brexit?
Let us assume the media coverage, misinformation, scaremongering, lies and outright attack will at least continue, if not get worse, as the country as a whole moves towards the extreme political right.
2. What are the opportunities available for British Muslims in a Britain outside the EU and how do we take advantage of them?
The more localised the political system, in some ways the more influence the better organised citizens and groups within that locality can exert. Therefore it is obvious that Muslims organising in such a way that can influence the selection and decision of politicians is required. However, even a cursory look at the real “power behind the throne” will uncover big business, bankers and a corrupt financial elite who will continue to push the limits of their own existing control mechanisms. Therefore, the need here is not to challenge them head on but to create alternative and sometimes parallel commercial systems based on (1) real & tangible currencies, (2) fair & just contracts and (3) free access to the marketplace for anyone wishing to engage in commercial activity. These are the policies and actions that will regenerate communities across Britain, create wealth and directly tackle issues of rampant and rising unemployment, isolation & loneliness, lack of aspiration and a dying economy. Muslims spearheading these initiatives will be the new dawah
Often when it comes to an election (in this case a referendum) we our harangued on two fronts by vocal Muslims. One camp makes it clear that participating in the voting system is totally haram/forbidden and even equate it with shirk. The other camp go to the other extreme and tell us that it is fard/compulsory for us to participate fully in the system of the country we reside in. It seems that none of them have ever heard of terms like makruh/disliked or mustahab/recommended. The middle path is certainly not for them.
Therefore, it should go without saying that we need to organise and vote (or not) in future elections as one body in the localities where we live. Let no candidate or political party in ANY constituency take for granted the Muslim vote, or lack thereof, again. It means coming together to put in place a recognised and accepted local strategic Muslim leadership that may take different forms in different places.
3. What are our duties as Muslims living in Britain at this time?
1In one way the timing of this referendum could not have been better. It comes right on the middle of Ramadan, not only that, but smack in the middle of the middle ten days when many of us are busy seeking Allah’s forgiveness and are especially conscious of fulfilling our individual acts of worship such as the prayer and fasting.
What we have to do now is extend that thinking. For we are ordered in the Noble Qur’an not just to do our prayers but to “establish” the prayer. This means having places (mosques). This means having people educated in the deen and able to lead the prayer. It means appointing zakat collectors to take and receive the zakat from Muslims. It means knowing how to look for the moon in order to be able to announce the eids and the time of Ramadan. We can no longer view the five pillars as individual acts of worship when it is clear that leadership and community are needed in order to do them justice. Conversely, there are actions for which simple avoidance is not enough
Allah tells us that if you murder one person it is like you murdered the whole of humanity. Therefore, abstaining from committing murder is one thing, establishing a place where murders are rare or unknown is another. Then having a system in place that will bring murderers to justice is yet another.
The sins of the current bank based financial system and the hardship and suffering it creates and perpetuates cannot be exaggerated. It is riba/usury in action. Something so bad that Allah, Himself and His Messenger have declared war on it. We are told to ‘abandon riba and establish lawful trade.’ To do this we again come back to currencies, contracts and markets.
Of course shirk is something Allah does not forgive, so it stands to reason that we must have education systems in place that teach everyone the basic of aqida and fundamentals of prescribed worship so that we not, even inadvertently, fall into this trap.
No doubt there will be a lot of posturing and rhetoric over the coming weeks and months. In the meanwhile the bankers and their allies will be working furiously behind the scenes to maintain and strengthen their control. Our job as Muslims is to also act and to speak-up. We must consult those amongst us who understand the issues, articulate a response and then those we entrust with local leadership must make the necessary strategic decisions. We simply have to put in place what we can in the best way we can and the rest is up to Allah. The Deen is Easy – Let’s Keep it That Way.
May Allah give us success in what we take on in this blessed month and between the two eids.