British Muslims must reclaim jihad

All British Muslims engage with jihad every single day.

Continue reading “British Muslims must reclaim jihad”

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Muslims can drink alcohol, but they should not

I think I might have found a loophole

Everyone it seems, whether Muslim or not, has their own ideas about the laws of Islam. But one of the things that everyone knows is that Muslims can’t drink alcohol, right?

Well, technically that’s not true.

A Muslim can drink if they want to.

In fact, Muslims always have a choice in everything that they do whether praying, fasting, or eating pork.

Muslims can even murder if they like.

Say that again?

Following Islam does not stop a person doing anything, in exactly the same way that British law does not physically prevent crime. Rape, robbery and fraud happens every day in this country even though they are all illegal.

The point of Islam, like any legal system, is to modify human behavior in order to prevent harm, whether to the individual or others.

One beer won’t hurt?

It’s true that alcohol in small quantities causes minimal harm to the human body. But it is also true that alcohol causes enormous harm in our society.

Think about the street fights, car accidents, and vandalism that happen as a direct result of alcohol. Think about the homelessness, the marriage breakdowns, the domestic violence, and the depression caused by alcohol. Think about all the people, as you read this, who are dying, yellow and bloated, because of alcohol-induced liver failure.

Alcohol costs Britain billions of pounds each year, and infinitely more in human suffering.

So whilst Muslims can drink alcohol if they wish, they should understand why Islam teaches them that they should not.

More Sudanese people would be terrorists if it wasn’t so damn hot all the time

The Metropolitan Police revealed details of the suspect they have detained in relation to the Westminster attack in London yesterday.

When I read that he was originally from Sudan I was surprised: most Sudanese people I know couldn’t be bothered to carry out a terror attack – not that any of them have the inclination.

You see, the pace of life in Sudan is slow – people don’t tend to rush around when daytime temperatures routinely exceed 40°C.

But Sudan is a Muslim country, so they must be terrorists right?

Except, if you were to compare Sudan to somewhere like Saudi Arabia you might not realise they were Muslims at all. For example, there are no laws against women driving, going out without a male chaperone or wearing their hair out.

Most women do wear the hijab by choice, but many – especially younger women – do not. And nobody bats an eye. The people enjoy music and dancing and singing as much as anyone in Britain, if not more.

Sudan is a pretty relaxing place

A view across the Nile in Khartoum, Sudan

I once played cards and drank cardamom-spiced coffee late into the night, at one of the many busting cafes on banks of the River Nile in Khartoum, and honestly I cannot think of anywhere I have felt more at peace.

It seems to me that whatever caused this man to attack Parliament yesterday, it probably has more to do with his experiences since coming to Britain, than anything at all to do with Sudan.

Even prisoners think positive

Here is a man who has been in prison for years – I don’t know how long, or what for – but he is one of the most positive people I have ever met. He greets the staff warmly each morning, keeps himself busy with work, or making cups of tea for the guards, and he steers well clear of trouble.
You might think that a man in his position would be depressed; he his anything but. He has chosen not to be. All of us face hard times in our lives, some more than others, but ultimately we all have the choice of dwelling on the bad things (even if they can’t be changed) or to think positive and see any hardship as an opportunity. Most of us can be happy, just by telling ourselves that we are.

We need to argue better

I listened to How to Disagree: A Beginner’s Guide to Having Better Arguments on BBC Radio 4 today. Amongst other things the programme featured a debating club at Birmingham Prison. The inmates were calm and rational in their discussions and were able to control their instincts to shout or get angry. One thing about the debate club that they liked was that sometimes they would be asked to argue for something that they were, in reality, totally against. In doing so they often learned a lot about the other side and it allowed them to reconsider their original point of view.

Until I started this blog a few weeks ago I had stayed away from Facebook and Twitter for a few years. I forgot what they are like. Endless comments exchanged between faceless others which almost always descend into name calling and casual racism. Social media is not a debate club, it has no rules. Yes, people can say what they think, but they don’t listen.

One of the most memorable points that the programme made was that when we debate we should assume that our opponent is exactly the same as us. Perhaps each time we try to debate with someone online we should take a minute to try to argue from their point of view and maybe that would bring us a bit closer together?