Let Muslims choose their own committee

Ziauddin Sardar

 

The right to disagree and be critical of your government is what is known as democracy, a right cherished as much by British Muslims as anyone else

 

The government is to set up a board of Muslim theologians. Once established, it will steer the more radical elements of the Muslim community away from violent extremism and issue fatwas on controversial issues such as the position of women and loyalty to the UK. This is bonkers! And everyone should know it. Who in our diverse Muslim communities would actually listen to such a board?

The suggestion that a bunch of theologians will come up with groundbreaking ideas rooted in Islamic sources, to inspire our young, is a non-starter as far as I am concerned. There is a stench of social engineering and misguided and misbegotten patronage about the project. A steering committee of the government’s favourite Muslim advisers, people who themselves command little respect among Muslims, will be established. The committee will hand-pick “theologians” and weed out extremists, undesirables, and those critical of the government and its foreign policy. Not surprisingly, the whole exercise has generated suspicion. It is doomed to failure.

This government has already gerrymandered Muslims to exhaustion. Nevertheless, it is not going to find a majority in favour of Britain’s foreign policy among Muslims, any more than among the generality of the population. The right to disagree and be critical of your government is what is known as democracy, a right cherished as much by British Muslims as anyone else. Handing out cash to self-appointed and self-verifying “community leaders”, “opinion-formers” and reclaimed extremists will not change anything. And I very much doubt it will prevent anything, either.

read the rest of this article at….http://www.newstatesman.com/religion/2008/08/muslim-government-british

 

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