Al-Haj Abdur-Rasjid Skinner embraced Islam 25 years ago. He is married to a Muslim and has six children. With Degrees in Psychology he currently works in Bradford Hospitals as a 'Consultant Clinical Psychologist'.
He is standing for the Conservative Party in Pendle in the upcoming General Elections (2001)Insha'Allah.
Sajid Iqbal, editor-The Revival, caught up with him for a chat and began by asking what made him embrace Islam?
Rasjid Skinner: It all began on my 19th birthday when I saw pictures of the mosques in Isphahan, which impressed me with the beauty of Islam. At about the same time I was drawn to the Qadri Sufi Tariqah and felt the desire to taste the haqiqat (truth). This led me to say the shahadah (declaration of faith) in the London Central mosque in 1976.
The Revival: Could you tell us about your Islamic education and how you went about searching for knowledge?
Rasjid Skinner: First I studied all of Sahih ul Bukhari and Muslim to give me a solid base of knowledge. I took advice from several teachers especially Sheikh Nazim al Haqqani. A book that particularly influenced me was Imam Ghazalli's Ihya Ulum ud Din. I follow Tariqat (spiritual path) and try to as much zikr (remembrance of Allah) as I can.
The Revival: What do you believe is the role of the Muslims in the UK?
Rasjid Skinner: Our role first of all is to purify our hearts and actually follow Islam- to live it. We should seek to change society for the better by acting as a force for good. That cannot happen if we are divided and fighting between ourselves on minor points. We should lend support to others of good heart, such as those Christians who are fighting against Abortion. Too often I see Muslims doing the opposite of all these things.
The Revival: Why are you standing for MP?
Rasjid Skinner: To be honest with you I didn't set out to be a politician but just seemed to stumble in to it. It is our duty to do good work and create a better society. Also before making the decision to stand in the upcoming election I did the istikhara (special duaa-supplication to seek guidance) and received a positive sign so I haven't hesitated ever since.
The Revival: What can you offer the people and can you really make a change?
Rasjid Skinner: I will be fighting for and promoting moral and social values that have deteriated under the Labour Government. First of all I will be working to stop the promotion of homosexuality and abolishing Section 28. I am against abortion and will highlight that whenever it is possible. The issue of single sex schools is an issue concerning everyone and I will be in a position to fight for and promote them. When it comes to wearing the hijab, Islamaphobia or other issues facing the Muslims I will have a sympathetic view but I will be working for and trying to help and serve everyone in the constituency regardless of race, creed, colour or religion.
The Revival: Do you believe that Labour is anti-Muslim especially when it comes to foreign policy?
Rasjid Skinner: Definitely. You need only to look at the way this government has acted with regards to Kosova, Kashmir, Chechnya- the list is endless. This Government has pursued probably the most unethical and hypocritical foreign policies of any British Government. My position on this is crystal clear. I will not support any foreign policy, which colludes with genocide and goes against the wish of oppressed people- for self-determination.
The Revival: On a final note what message would you like to give to our readers?
Rasjid Skinner: First of all let me congratulate you on a wonderful newsletter which I believe really appeals to the younger generation. (Ta! -Ed.) Finally all I would say to everyone out there is basically to live Islam and to work towards a good society.
© The Revival 2001