by Shirley W. Madany
In a previous article we made mention of a document called THE MUSLIM MANIFESTO which has been written and prepared by British Muslims to serve as a guide for their survival as a distinct and separate group living in Britain. As the bulk of the Muslim population in the United Kingdom have immigrated from former British colonies, principally India and Pakistan, they bring with them a consciousness of their colonial past. The recent controversy over Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and the insensitivity of British and public comment seems to have spurred them to action.
Irritated by the impact of liberal thought which, as they observe, prevents any strong reaction against blasphemy regarding the person of Jesus Christ, let alone showing proper respect for Muhammad, they produced THE MUSLIM MANIFESTO. It is a 40-page document which should be of keen interest to all of us. There are many statements which a Christian would endorse. There are also criticisms of the West which strike home, and should make us hang our heads in shame.
In the general guidelines for the life of the Muslim individual in Britain we find such comments as "every Muslim, man or woman, must practice Islam in all its dimensions in order to achieve the greatest possible degree of 'piety' in his/her private, personal, family, social and professional life...." Likewise aspirations such as "not absorbing the moral laxity prevalent in the secular culture of modern Britain today." Or the declaration that "every Muslim must pursue excellence in all departments of life, especially in the acquaisition of all-round knowledge...."
If only Christians were as keen to identify themselves, and to live pure and blameless lives. Our acknowledged aim should be to excel for the sake of our Lord! Isn't it true that large numbers of Christians have capitulated to secularism and only pay lip-service to Jesus Christ? Church attendance is sufficient. A particular identifying life-style dos not enter into our thinking.
Let me quote the section on "Da'wah" (inviting non-Muslim to Islam) in its totality. I believe you will feel a keen sense of shame:
Performing da'wah, or inviting non-Muslims to accept Islam, is a basic duty of all Muslims. Muslims have come to live in the west in large numbers at a time when the western civilization is beginning to develop disorders of the mind, body, and soul as a direct consequence of unmitigated secularism. In this situation the role of da'wah is clear. However, the method of da'wah is often and unnecessarily contentious among Muslims. There are those who take the passive route, and there are those who believe in working through revolutionary change, beginning with Muslim societies and countries. In Britain, in the short-term, the greatest impact is likely to be achieved through the example of moral and material excellence set by Muslim individuals and families living in a post-Christian, largely pagan society. The collective effort of the Muslim community in Britain to lead a pious life in a corrupt environment is bound to play a major role in da'wah. Similarly, the piety of Muslim youth, the modesty of Muslim women, the stability of Muslim family life, the absence of drinks, drugs and sex-related crimes and the overall discipline of Muslims living in the west will in itself send powerful signals to non-Muslims,. But this will only happen if we succeed in arresting the 'integration' and 'assimilation' of Muslims themselves into the corrupt bogland of western culture and supposed 'civilization'. The emergence of a distinctive Muslim presence, individual and collective, is an essential first step towards effective da'wah.
These are stirring words and strong accusations. In our own determination to avoid legalistic decisions on behavior it is obvious that we have succumbed to our environment which is definitely antagonistic to Christian principles. For instance, very few Christian organizations would dare to have guidelines of dress and behavior. The idea of Christian women wearing mini- skirts would only be an issue if the persons involved were going to be living in a Muslim country. Their use at home would not even be questioned. Modesty has become an obsolete word and concept. Not so with the Muslims who are very proud of their well-covered women.
Thought -provoking are the clear statements that all Muslims must consider themselves a part of a global Ummah (body of Muslims). For them, any idea of 'integration' or 'assimilation' must be resisted and rejected. They feel that these two words sum up the official policy in Britain. The purpose behind THE MANIFESTO is that Muslims will have a "body that can speak with authority on their behalf" in the United Kingdom.
The section on goals was similar to that of guidelines. After reading their goals one finds certain similarities to the Hutterite colonies in Canada, or the Amish in the United States. However, there is a fundamental difference. Muslims feel that they belong to a "global" community and unashamedly point to their allegiance to it. For example:
Jihad (struggle 'often armed' in the way of Allah) is a basic requirement of Islam and living in Britain or having British nationality by birth or naturalization does not absolve the Muslim from his or her duty to participate in jihad; this participation can be active service in armed struggle abroad and/or the provision of material and moral support to those engaged in such struggle anywhere in the world....
Every Muslim must pursue his or her personal goals within the framework of the Muslim community in Britain, of the Ummah (word body of Muslims), and of the global Islamic movement....
Each section ended with a maxim: "we are Muslims first and last." "Muslims will pursue moral excellence under all circumstances." "Islam is our guide in all situations." "Only Islam can protect Muslims." "Mosques are the primary institutions of Islam." "Muslims must devlop their own identity and culture within Britain and as part of a global Muslim community, the Ummah."
On this troublesome subject of "assimilation" it was evident that they felt that "the British expected them to become British" now that they had been granted their freedom and immigrated to the United Kingdom. In this respect, without even seeing ourselves as "imperialistic," it is quite obvious that we do expect immigrants to accept our democratic heritage which has made America what she is. How many countries of the world allow immigration? Isn't our fredom the fruit of our earlier beliefs?
The Muslim view on the British attempt to force them to assimilate is worth quoting:
"Moreover, as the controversy over The Satanic Verses has revealed, the British also want Musslims to accept their view of all relgions, including Islam. This is that all religious beliefs are a throwback to the Dark Ages of ignorance and superstition and therefore unacceptable in this day and age of reason, science and technology. Thos who want to retain religious convictions must exercise them in the sphere of privagte conscience. No religion, least of all Islam can be allowed a place in public affairs, even those affairs that affect Muslims themselves. Public policy cannot therefore take into account Islam or the Islamic sensibilities of Muslims. It is for Muslims to 'grow up' and join the mainstream of western civilization."
While we can learn much from THE MUSLIM MANIFESTO, we must bear in mind that Islam was from its beginnings a thoroughly politicized religion. Its phenomenal spread in the world was accomplished by conquest. Almost a millennium-and-a-half later, many Muslims still dream of building theocratic regimes. And when living in non-Islamic countries, they would not hesitate to attempt to have their own "state within the state."
The necessity to double our efforts in missions to Muslims should be quite obvious. Unless we evangelize them, they will submerge us with their legalistic and authoritarian message.
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