Scotland: Muslims tackle Islamic far-right
The British National Party and the Scottish Defence League often portray Islam as a separatist Trojan horse inside Britain – a religion of shadowy conspirators plotting to bring the county to its knees.
But Scottish Muslims are now setting out to take a stronger role in civic society, determined to do away with the negative image of Islam that is being pushed by the far-right and challenge the extremist doctrine promoted by zealots such as Omar Bakri or Abu Hamza.
Shaykh Amer Jamil, an Islamic scholar from Glasgow, has promised to wipe out what he sees as dangerous misinterpretations of his religion.
Using arguments taken directly from the Koran, he is demolishing misguided attempts to justify domestic violence, within fringe elements of the Muslim community.
He has also embarked on a project to educate Scottish Muslims about the true meaning of the word “jihad”, which is so often misunderstood.
He is distributing 12,000 pamphlets around Scottish mosques, reminding Muslims that jihad does not just mean holy war, but can mean “personal struggle”. The campaign will continue throughout the year and he will issue further pamphlets on issues such as forced marriage.
He said: “Some people come out and condemn terrorism or domestic violence, but never from a scholarly perspective. I wrote this leaflet so it is readable by anyone. It is not an academic piece that only five people can read. I set out to rebut negative arguments in such a scholastic way that there is no way of arguing against it.”
His effort is part of a wider trend among Muslim communities, as young people take an increasingly proactive stance in the society around them, reconciling their faith with their responsibilities as Scottish, British and European citizens.
For instance, in Edinburgh yesterday, classes were cancelled at the central mosque so women and children could take part in the protests against the Scottish Defence League – that did not happen during the SDL’s Glasgow protest.
Osama Saeed, of the Scottish-Islamic Foundation, one of the organisers of Scotland United, said the increased turnout reflected a “new wave” of Muslims determined to get involved in civic society.
Source: Herald Scotland, h/t Islam in Britain