Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Has Political Participation Failed British Muslims?

I attended this debate yesterday put on by the Cordoba Foundation. Alhamdulillah, they put together an excellent line-up of panelists (Lord Nazir Ahmad (member of the House of Lords), Osama Saeed (political activist and parliamentary hopeful), Dr Abdul Wahid (chairman Hizb-at-Tahrir UK), Makbool Javaid (human rights lawyer)) and the debate itself was very insightful and educating.

Some of the key points that I picked up from both sides were as follows:
- We have to engage in the political process, at every level. Not engaging and isolating ourselves is nonsensical.
- To be accepted we would have to sell-out and make compromises of we are and what we believe in.
- There have been many successes resulting from us participating in the political process, e.g. state-funded Muslim schools, Islamic finance options etc.
- We shouldn't be naive and should take example from other communities. For example, the black community in America has black people in top positions in many political spheres but the general state of living of black people is very very bad indeed.

Note that I have not attributed the points to particular speakers. I do not think it would be right to do so, since what I have typed is my understanding of the points and not necessarily what the speakers may have intended.

The debate wrapped up with a vote from the audience and those listening on radio at home. The result was as follows:
- Those in favour of the motion (i.e. political participation has failed British Muslims): 78%
- Those against: 14%
- Those undecided: 8%

A landslide victory. Shocking, no?

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