Quote: Scottish Muslims and nationalism

Quote: Scottish Muslims and nationalism

AltMuslim: With regards to the situations of Muslims elsewhere in Europe, do you see a model forming around the Scottish experience that Muslims in other European countries can learn from?

A: I think there is definitely something to that. I've been arguing that we need to look at our responsibility to talk about that far more. I've had the opportunity over the last year or so to travel pretty extensively across Europe and the United States. And in my opinion, I don't think there's a better place in the world to be a Muslim than in Scotland.

I was somewhat surprised with the US… I expected the situation in America to be pretty bad. I actually found that people are very comfortable with their identity and very positive about it, in fact.

Whereas across Europe… I was part of a 20-strong delegation, a State Department visit to America last year with young Muslim leaders drawn from across Europe. And the Scottish contingent, it's fair to say, were the only ones that identified themselves with the country of birth, whereas everyone else sees themselves as Turkish or Pakistani or wherever else. I think it's something we take for granted here.

The research done by Stirling and St. Andrews universities, which found that young Muslims in Scotland had a higher degree of nationalism and Scottish national identity than the overall population… again, it's something we take for granted. We're, I would say, the only country in Europe that has a government that has a slogan like "One Scotland, many cultures," very explicitly embracing that idea of multiculturalism. And across the political spectrum, there's acceptance of that, even the Conservative Party would take a pretty harsh line on this in London.

They don't do that in Scotland. The media situation with the tabloids is a lot calmer here. And the result of that has been that there's less of a defensiveness amongst Muslims in Scotland. It's meant that people can just get on with their lives and just be normal. When you find your statistics and people identifying themselves as Scottish, that's just what normal people do. The minute you start focusing in on it as happens in many other countries, then you start creating the very problems that you claim to be trying to eliminate.

So, yeah, I'd be very interested in engaging in that discussion far more on a national level and I think Scotland has a pretty prominent part to play in that discussion.

-- Interview with Osama Saeed, candidate for the British Parliament for the Scottish National Party.

Read the entire interview for his views on the Scottish nationalism, multiculturalism, and the Khalifate.

No comments: