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Open Letter to Muslims Regarding Islam, Homosexuality, and The American Way of Life

Muslim Matters - 23 July, 2015 - 12:48

By imam Mikaeel Smith

In the name of Allah the most Beneficent and the most Merciful.

Since the United States Supreme Court decision to allow homosexual marriages in all 50 states in America, the American Muslim community has been forced to reanalyze what it means to be an American Muslim, and specifically what  American Muslims should think about such legislation.  American Muslims have been forced to question (once again) how one balances living in any country that sometimes legislates against one's core principles. Social media has been flooded with articles, posts and long discussions, as Muslims both young and old struggle try to understand where they should stand during this epic moment.

Muslims and Civil Rights and True Hypocrisy

A recent open letter written by two Muslims (a writer, Reza Aslan and a comedian, Hasan Minhaj) stated that it is hypocritical to fight for the civil rights of one marginalized group and not the civil rights of another group. What the writers fail to address is that one first has to be true to his or herself before they can be true to the society that they live in. They also fail to realize that Muslim civic engagement is based on not the current relative definition of what is or isn't morally right but rather the Muslim engages based on a revealed ultimate moral code, which is static. If a Muslim stands up for the propagation of what she considers immoral actions, she is untrue to herself and an adversity to her society and religion.

I find it extremely disturbing that being true to what one believes can be called hypocrisy, when in reality it is the exact opposite.

This decision has effectively deemed homosexual relationships as morally right, in other words “good”. But what about the millions of Americans who the day before the decision was passed felt that this action was vile and detestable. What should they do if they wish to be good Americans? Well, if they truly believe homosexuality to be immoral, then their capitulation is tantamount to giving up a struggle for the well being of American society.

Is It Religiously Okay to Support and Celebrate the Announcement of This Decision?

The majority of the confusion regarding this legislation is about how a Muslim should interact with an individual or society that engages in such actions; and secondly, is it right for a Muslim to support such legislation.

Among Muslims there have been some who have expressed happiness over the legislation. In my understanding, this is completely wrong and unacceptable for someone who believes the action to be immoral.

When the Qur'an and Prophetic tradition speak so adamantly and clearly regarding an evil and perversion of an action, on what basis can a Muslim express happiness over its propagation?

A cursory study of the Qur'an would show us that a Muslim is taught to struggle to become the means for the removal of evil. If this is not possible than he should at least dislike the evil.

The evil is understood to be like that of a tumor, which has infected a person or even a society. The objective of doctors' efforts is the removal of cancer out of love and compassion for the patient. Unity is also a byproduct of morally based political engagement in that all the doctors will join hands regardless race, religion or social class to get rid of the tumor.

Read Dealing With Homosexual Urges

There are two tendencies which have added to the confusion. Some of the doctors have begun to hate the person due to the stubbornness of the tumor. This leads some to defend the evil in an attempt to stand by the person. While other doctors have begun to forget that the tumor should not be there in the first place. Read Gay and Muslim: How Can We Help?

Islam and Morality Relativism

The Islamic moral code is not relative. In fact true morality can never be relative rather it is absolute. As Peter Kreeft states in Ecumenical Jihad, “Otherwise, such a moral relativism is an infallible prescription for social chaos.” This exact idea is also found in the Qur'an, where Allah states, “Had there been any God other than He, the Heavens and Earth would be in chaos”. The “chaos” that we see today is called moral relativism which will be discussed later.

Our Islamic moral code commands us to stand and fight for all human beings, but we are also commanded to stand against all dehumanizing deeds. Essential to understanding the Islamic moral system, I have outlined some facts or truths about morality:

  1. Morality is necessary for a society to survive. The alternative is chaos
  2. Morality is not Sectarian. It is both universally know and universally binding
  3. Morality is natural or based on human nature. Also know as These laws are intrinsic to human nature just as laws of physics are to nature of matter
  4. Morality liberates. It is a set of directions for the purpose of making our human nature flourish
  5. Morality takes effort. This is know a Jihad, or a fighting against forces of evil in all of us
  6. Morality gives meaning and purpose to life
  7. Morality is reasonable. It is not blind but intelligent. It perceives the difference between good and bad actions and lifestyles. It “discriminates” not between good or bad people but good or bad actions and lifestyles.[1]
Read Debating Homosexuality

Point number 7 above points out perhaps the most essential aspect of Islamic morality. That is does discriminate. But this “discrimination” is not between good and bad people but good and bad actions.

A Trendy Defense of Islam

When living in America, or any other non-Islamic country for that matter, a Muslim is allowed by the Shariah (the moral, ethical, social and political codes of conduct for Muslims at an individual and collective level) to fore-go or ignore some of the aspects of the Shariah. For example, the penal law and some aspects of civil law are not to be implemented. However, this does not mean that a Muslim should lose sight of what his or her belief deems to be ideal — as per the Qur'an and Prophetic teachings of Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

It has become a rather trendy method for many Muslim activists to dismiss or even demonize some aspects of the Prophetic teachings in order to defend Islam. The question begs to be asked, “What Islam are you defending?” This method of defending Islam has led to widespread confusion among Muslims as to what is a part of religion and what is cultural. As Muslims, we are not obliged nor allowed to force people upon Shariah. However, we are also not allowed to forget what Islam holds to be ideal.

Muslims should thus understand that their moral engagement in the American political scene is essential to the well-being of America. Their engagement will only contribute to the betterment of the society when they engage with their universal code of morality, their list of unchanging rights and wrongs. Without this moral law Muslims are no longer a part of the solution, but rather part of the chaos. From this, it should be clear that the Quranic delineation of rights and wrongs outlines the ultimate rights and wrongs. Actions that always were and always will be right or wrong. It is this morality that give meaning to life and society and this morality that liberates man while unifying him with others. It will not judge man but must judge the actions and lifestyles of man.

In my understanding, both American values and Islamic values merge on the elevation and honoring of those who are true to what they believe —both in speech and action.

Allah knows best.

imam Mikaeel Smith is the Resident Scholar of the Islamic Society of Annapolis and the Islamic Society of Baltimore.

[1] Ecumenical Jihad; Kreeft page 75

How to be an Expert – Art of Connection with Belal Khan

Muslim Matters - 23 July, 2015 - 12:36

A buddy of mine posed this question to me. So I'm like, “well I see it as a combination of innate talents, coupled with knowledge and tactical skills applied overtime.”

He goes, “No, that's great, but before that. What needs to be there for that application to happen? You may have a strength, but may not be seen as an expert.”

I'm like, “Go ahead, tell me.”

What makes someone an expert?

Expertise, comes with a combination of being consistent and reliable at the same time.

Consistency has to do with quality of work. It doesn't fluctuate.

Reliability has to do with the fact that you show up everyday, on time, every time.

You need to be consistent and reliable in order to develop and be perceived as someone who is strong and an expert and people desire to be connected with.

Anti-FGM crusade brings out the busybodies

Indigo Jo Blogs - 23 July, 2015 - 11:53

Picture of Jenny TongeThe crusade against FGM is out of control - Spectator Blogs

Brendan O’Neill wrote the above article on the incident reported recently in the British press, in which Baroness Jenny Tonge took a flight to Addis Ababa that was full of what appeared to her to be British-Somali families, including a lot of women and girls, and immediately formed the suspicion that they, or at least some of them, were going for the purpose of undergoing FGM. She said she “chickened out” of actually talking to them and asking, but informed the police on return who are apparently going to “check the passenger list”. (I checked Tonge’s FB page and it is either private or has been removed.) O’Neill mentions a few of the other problems that arise from the “crusade” against FGM:

There is a new raft of anti-FGM measures that could have a seriously detrimental impact on community relations. As of this month, anyone — literally anyone — can apply for an FGM Protection Order to prevent people from travelling abroad if there’s any reason to think they might be going for FGM. Are your Somalian neighbours planning a six-week trip abroad? Do they have daughters? Are their daughters a bit moody? Quick, get an FGM Protection Order.

Starting in Autumn, all teachers and health workers will be legally required to report cases of FGM to the authorities. According to the NSPCC, signs of FGM can include girls ‘spending longer than normal in the bathroom’ or talking about being ‘taken “home” to visit family’. Is this for real? Every girl going though puberty takes long trips to the loo. And loads of children of immigrants spend their summers abroad (as I did). To become suspicious of girls who start to feel embarrassed around the age of 12 and who talk about going on holiday to Africa is to be suspicious of virtually every pubescent African girl in Britain.

Tonge said her suspicion was raised because there were more girls than boys and “all just about pubescent”. Mutilation of girls at or around puberty happens in some parts of Africa but in Somalia it happens around six or seven. The idea that in this day and age, a large group of ‘pubescent’ (i.e. aged around 12) girls might be seen travelling to a place where they suspect they might have their bits cut off without anaesthetic, and none of them appear to be unhappy, is a bit unlikely. Africans do talk amongst themselves about FGM and girls that age may well know what it involves, especially if they know girls who have been through it. As for why there were more girls than boys, perhaps the families decided that because of the political situation it might be better not to take the boys. A whole Muslim family travelling to a country where there is still al-Qa’ida activity (and who knows where they might travel to afterwards) might arouse a lot more suspicion than just the women and girls going.

O’Neill also mentions the persistent suggestion that girls be subject to intimate examinations on leaving and entering the country if they come from a background where FGM is common. What these people do not consider is that if they are determined to carry out the procedure, they will find ways to circumvent the inspection (e.g. by flying back into Dublin and crossing back into the UK overland), and if they did not intend mutilation when they left but were unable to prevent it (and it is common for parents to resist FGM but for aunts or grandparents to insist on it), they might just not bring the girls back but keep them living with relatives in Kenya, Dubai or another surrounding country — or even Somalia, if they come from a part where there is no longer war. Being subjected to FGM does not actually prevent a girl going on to higher education and a career; living in a country where access to education is very limited, especially for girls, and where early marriage is expected, might do that.

Such inspections also undermine efforts to teach children how to protect themselves from abuse, namely that they know that their bodies are their own and their private parts are private. Anyone in authority who wishes to “take a look” after such an encounter only need compare themselves to the person at the airport, even though they may be of the other sex, particularly if the girl is too young to know what they were being inspected for. And there’s always the risk that the inspections will be traumatic in themselves, particularly if a girl has already been a victim of sexual abuse (or has had it drilled into her never to show her body to anyone), and there is no guarantee that every inspection will be done sensitively, particularly if there are dozens of girls to inspect before a plane can leave for Addis Ababa. And if a girl comes from a family where FGM is not practised, this intrusion from an ignorant official with a supicious mind will be entirely unnecessary (and they will use their ignorance as an excuse to carry out unnecessary inspections).

There is an obsession with FGM in this country and any findings on the matter are reported as sensationally as people can manage. For example, back in February it was reported that 500 “new cases” of FGM were reported at hospitals in England and that “campaigners” had warned that this was the “tip of the iceberg”. However, the new cases consisted of doctors becoming aware of women who had undergone FGM, not of girls undergoing FGM, yet this detail was buried in the stories. In David Cameron’s speech in Birmingham last Monday, he claimed that “too often we have lacked the confidence to enforce our values, for fear of causing offence”, specifically mentioning FGM and forced marriage, alleging that “there were nearly 4,000 cases of FGM reported in our country last year alone”, which appears to refer to a statistic that nearly 4,000 women were treated for effects of FGM in the UK since 2009; there is no evidence of how many of these cases were inflicted in the UK. The fact that not a single case has ever been successfully prosecuted should be instructive, given that it’s well-known that the majority of sexual assaults go unreported, yet there have always been reports, and convictions.

This persistent exaggeration and sensationalising of FGM and its supposed prevalence in this country is used to fuel another debate, namely about integration and the supposed refusal of Muslim minorities in particular to “fit in”. The truth is that it’s widespread in Africa, not just in Muslim countries, and when a London radio station held a phone-in on the issue a few years ago, the majority of callers were Nigerians, not Somalis, yet we never hear Nigeria mentioned as a place where FGM is common. The fact is that it is being debated among the communities which traditionally practised it, that many families have abandoned it, that some groups did not traditionally practise it, that many adult women from the communities involved have not had it done, and that it is declining for reasons that are not entirely to do with western influence, including exposure to Muslim cultures where FGM is unheard-of — yet these campaigners, and all the well-connected ignorant busybodies like Jenny Tonge, remain convinced that only they know what is in girls’ best interests when they often know very little about the cultures involved, and appear to believe they do not need to.

Image credit: “Baroness Tonge Liverpool” by Keith Edkins - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons.

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Canada: Police Reopen Case On Racist Abuse of Calgary Cabbie After Media Reports

Loon Watch - 23 July, 2015 - 00:48

Calgary_Racism_Islamophobia

So it took news reports and exposes by the Global News for the RCMP to reopen an investigation into an obvious case of Islamophobic hate and assault.

Global News

WATCH ABOVE: The RCMP have re-opened the case involving a vicious racial attack on a Calgary cabbie, after reports from Global News this week. Global News has learned who the passenger was. The victim of the attack is waiting to see if he is going to be held accountable. Nancy Hixt has the story.

WARNING: This story contains graphic content. Discretion is advised. Global’s Nancy Hixt reports.

CALGARY – Nearly two years after RCMP closed the books on a case of a vicious verbal and racist assault on a Calgary cabbie, RCMP have now reopened their investigation.

A passenger’s verbal attack on 35-year-old Sardar Qayyum, caught on a dashboard-mounted camera, was recently obtained by Global News.

On the tape, Qayyum agrees to stop at a fast food restaurant even though his the passenger’s taxi chit is about to expire, but then the passenger says “You tried to f— me, you tried to f—me.”

He goes on to say, “you son-of-a-bitch, you f—ing  c—sucker, go back to where are from…” and ”Uh uh, I’m a Paki, mother f—ing Jew…what are you f—ing going to do, strap a bomb to your body, huh?”

At the end of the verbal barrage, the passenger rips the camera out of the cab and Qayyum says he was then physically assaulted: “He punched the camera in my chest and I just opened the car and left.”

Continue reading…

The World’s Oldest Quran Manuscript

Lost Islamic History - 22 July, 2015 - 21:02

According to new research at the University of Birmingham, a collection of Quranic manuscripts held at the university may be the oldest in the world. Radiocarbon dating estimates that the manuscripts, which are written on animal skin, were written between 568 and 645 CE.

If the research is accurate, it means that the manuscripts were written at most just a few years after the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ passed away in 632 CE, indicating it was probably transcribed by a Companion of his.

The manuscript is written in the now extinct Hijazi script, which lacked dots and vowel markings, making it difficult to read for someone not already familiar with the verses. By the late 600s, the Kufic script came to dominate Quranic manuscripts.

Below are scans of the manuscript along with links for further reading.

Verses 91-98 of Surat Maryam, followed by the first 12 verses of Surat Taha

Verses 91-98 of Surat Maryam, followed by the first 12 verses of Surat Taha

 

Taha

Verses 12 to 39 of Surat Taha

 

Verses 17 to 23 of Surat al-Kahf

Verses 17 to 23 of Surat al-Kahf

 

Verses 23 to 31 of Surat al-Kahf

Verses 23 to 31 of Surat al-Kahf

 

Link to virtual manuscript at University of Birmingham

Link to text transcription of the manuscripts by Alba Fedeli

The Guardian view on Birmingham’s Qur’an: part of a rich and complex intellectual history | Editorial

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 July, 2015 - 19:46
Early fragments of the Qur’an, newly dated to soon after the prophet’s death, are the legacy of a collection built to serve religious toleration and cultural understanding

The discovery, among the manuscripts held by the University of Birmingham, of some of the oldest surviving fragments of the Qur’an – perhaps made within 20 years of the prophet Muhammad’s death – is a cause for celebration. From 2 October they will be on public view in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, seen in the context of everything from early Arab-Byzantine coins to masterpieces of western art: Rubens and Renoir; Roubiliac and Reynolds.

The pages are part of the Mingana collection. Alphonse Mingana, who was born in what is now northern Iraq in 1878, was a member of an Assyrian Christian community that uses Aramaic, the language of Christ – a people that has suffered many reversals, from killings by Turkish soldiers in 1915 to the recent onslaught of Islamic State. He came to Birmingham’s Woodbrooke, the Quaker college, in 1913, and was later sponsored by the philanthropist (and scion of chocolatiers) Edward Cadbury to visit the Middle East. He returned with treasures including a text on symbolism for Sufi poets, Indian animal fables, an Ottoman astrological calendar, bilingual Coptic and Arabic texts from Egypt, medieval Syrian versions of the gospels and a 17th-century Persian Life of the Prophet. The point was to amass a collection that, from the myriad histories woven through its pages, would foster understanding between faiths. When complexity is at risk from blunt and simplistic narratives on all sides, the legacy of Mingana’s collection, these Qur’anic pages included, is especially precious.

Continue reading...

Schools in the UK Are Now Asking Muslim Children to Fill Out “Counter-Extremism”

Loon Watch - 22 July, 2015 - 19:46

“Counter Extremism” survey administered to primary school pupils in London

Schools in the UK Are Now Asking Muslim Children to Fill Out “Counter-Extremism”

Over the past couple of days, this photograph of a questionnaire/survey given to primary school children in East London has been widely circulated on social media.

May 27, 2015  by Ananya Rao-Middleton

Statement from the executive head teacher of Buxton school, which is one in a number of schools involved in the pilot programme funded by the European Commission (source: Twitter)

It has been described as a ‘counter-extremism’ survey, consisting of undeniably loaded questions aimed at discerning the religious, ethical and even patriotic beliefs of the children taking part. Worse still, it is evident that this survey is undoubtedly intended for Muslim children primarily, who will continue to undergo interrogation of this kind as part of the new legal obligations upheld by educational institutions, consisting of monitoring potential ‘extremists’, as dictated by the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill that recently passed in parliament. This survey, and its wider implications of state-sponsored violence and Islamophobia, are disturbing for a number of reasons, however, I want to first focus on what it means to categorise Muslim children as potential ‘extremists’.

To categorise children in such a way is a form of preconceived criminalisation. By categorising Muslim children as potential ‘extremists’, the government can justify violence enacted through laws that essentially treat them as criminals without having to provide any tangible evidence for doing so. In the CTS Bill, this criminalisation is determined by the exhibition of certain behaviours and values displayed by children that the government identify as ‘radical’. These so-called signifiers of ‘extremism’ amongst children appear to be based on symbols of religiousness and increased religiosity. If this is the case, is the government not conflating terrorism with Islam?

Continue reading …

'Oldest' Qur'an fragments found at Birmingham University

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 July, 2015 - 14:23

Radiocarbon analysis dates Islamic parchment to period between AD568 and AD645

One of the oldest texts of the Qur’an in the world, on parchment that was possibly made within the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, has been found in the collection of the Cadbury Research Library at the University of Birmingham.

The two well-preserved leaves of parchment, closely written in an elegant script, have been radiocarbon-dated to between AD568 and AD645, a result regarded by the scientists who tested it at Oxford as near certain – 95.4% accurate.

Continue reading...

‘World’s oldest Qur’an’ fragments found at University of Birmingham – video

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 July, 2015 - 12:37
The discovery of one of the oldest fragments of the Qur'an at the University of Birmingham is hailed as a historic find of 'global significance'. Radiocarbon analysis has dated the parchment between AD568 and 645. David Thomas, professor of Christianity and Islam at the University of Birmingham, says the results suggest the manuscript was written less than 20 years after the death of the prophet Muhammad Continue reading...

Frameworks, Wisdom, and Hadith Books – Art of Connection with Belal Khan

Muslim Matters - 22 July, 2015 - 11:28

Why do we have several books of Prophetic narrations?

We've got books on hadith by Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidi, Abu Dawood, etc. Why not compile it all into a single work?

Why do we study these works individually?

I asked the local imam these questions and what he said gave me a whole new level of appreciation for the sciences of hadith.

It's not About the Content of These Books

When you study the books of hadith, you're also studying about the lives of those who compiled it.

You're looking at their life, who these individuals were, what time they lived in, the circumstances that existed, what was the approach taken to compiling these narratives, and how they went about classifying the Prophetic narratives.

Through knowing the above, you'd understand their methodology, thus have a mental framework on how to approach knowledge.

When you study multiple books, you'll end up with multiple frameworks and methodologies to apply in life.

Parallels to Economics and Finance

When I was in college, I originally went in as a Economics major. I had the aspiration of becoming a bond trader, which essentially is a dealer of debt instruments.

I later ended up changing my course of study when I learned that dealing with interest based financial instruments wasn't allowed in Islam.

However, in an economics education you learn about applying different processes and frameworks to either analyze or even develop financial instruments.

When this concept of frameworks was presented to me in the area of spiritual sciences like the sciences of Hadith, it gave me a whole new level of appreciation.

Why do some folks get certifications or multiple “ijaza” in a single subject or topic like imam Nawawi's 40 hadith?

The content is the same, isn't just one person's instruction appropriate?

Knowledge is one thing. But, learning the same subject from multiple people, you get exposure to multiple insights and methods.

At the same time, you're also learning from their wisdom, thus increasing your breadth and depth of knowledge.

Knowledge Is Not Information

It's about context. It's about sharing what you know with others in a way that is applicable to them.

This enables you to better influence people, connect better, and give value to their lives.

When you have more than one method of approaching a problem, you can come at it from multiple angles and perspectives.

Deradicalisation program is pointless, says influential Muslim association

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 July, 2015 - 10:54

Abbott government’s consultations with the community dismissed as ‘box-ticking exercises’ by president of the Lebanese Muslim Association

The head of one of Australia’s oldest and most established Muslim organisations has criticised the federal government’s deradicalisation program as “pointless” and not genuinely consultative.

Samier Dandan, the president of the Lebanese Muslim Association, has written a scathing review (pdf) of the programs.

Related: Victoria's deradicalisation plan a 'Soviet-style' idea that will only alienate – expert

Related: First deradicalisation grants awarded, but extremism still poorly understood

Continue reading...

Where The Undesirable Go

Muslimah Media Watch - 22 July, 2015 - 10:50
This post was originally published on the writer’s blog.  I left the mosque many years ago. I think the last straw for me was seeing female teachers and preachers telling us that women should not be in positions of leadership; that they should stay home and care for their children; or that a woman’s nature [Read More...]

Talk to God

Muslim Matters - 22 July, 2015 - 07:30

Click here to view the embedded video.

Lyrics:

[Chorus]

Yo i'm tryna talk to Goddd, like I need prescriptions/
Cuz my soul's feelin' low in the distance/
He told me hold uppp, you really need to listen/
I gave you the Qur'an, Ramadan, and some wisdom/

[Verse 1]

I don't need medicaid, or the medication in my kitchen/
All I gotta do is follow Sunnah with persistence/
Now everything I gotta do is written in my mission/
I gotta serve God cuz that's the reason for existence/
Sometimes I lose focus… sometimes I be slippin'/
But either way, somebody been taking a page up out my wish list/
and that's to improve within the movement, stop actin' like it's a nuisance/
a common denominator's a steady stream of a excuses/
Missin' something so intricate… as prayer and just dismissin' it/
Fishin' for freedom, but you're really just self-limitin'/
Blessings on blessings for reading them lessons/
Prophetic transitions transcending with messages/
Tell God that i'm grateful he gave me a plate-full/
I coulda had nothing, been broke or disabled/
Or never been born, or maybe misguided/
But you gave me role models who keep it so righteous/

[Verse 2]
So it's 2-9 or it's 3-0 either way don't you know, that i'm feedin my soul/
got a golden opportunity pick and… Roll/
With it, cause this fasting got me fascinated/
with this nourishment i'm lackin lately/
But that's just the physical, the spiritual's the pinnacle/
A scripture paints a picture of the holiest of miracles/
I'm breaking my fast with the same box of dates/
Never outdated, I do not complain/
When there's brothers and sisters with nothin' to eat/
Our bellies are full and they end up deceased/
Here is a mirror, now look at your face/
I'm shifting perspectives to show you your fate/
If you rich or you poor, we gon' end up in graves/
I'm pourin' my wisdom and feelings to say/
You need to be grateful before it's too late/
Talkin to God…helps me elevate/

Best,
Shahroz
@TheRealShahroz

Islamic charities in UK fear they are being unfairly targeted over extremism | Alex Delmar-Morgan

The Guardian World news: Islam - 22 July, 2015 - 07:30
Close scrutiny of humanitarian NGOs over suspected links to terrorism risks alienating Muslims and making them feel there’s no place for them in modern Britain

Mohammad Shakir was brushing his teeth at his home in London’s East Ham one morning in September last year. He was checking his emails on his smartphone at the same time. When he saw a message forwarded by a colleague, he couldn’t quite believe it. “It was one of those moments when you reorganise your day,” he recalls.

On 23 September, the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF), an umbrella organisation for 10 UK-based, Muslim-led international NGOs – including Islamic Relief, Islamic Help and Muslim Hands – was dealt a devastating blow after a newspaper reported some of its well-known members had links to terrorism.

Most Muslims want to affiliate with this country, and they will need support to help develop and prosper as a community

Related: David Cameron: extremist ideology is 'struggle of our generation'

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