British Born Muslims

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Major new poll of British Born Muslims in the UK (link at top of page) September 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bbm786 @ 11:39 am

The Survey
The following survey was carried out between 9th March and 24th March 2009.
A total of 1511 British Born Muslims were polled aged between 16 and 39
1093 in the Alum Rock area of Birmingham and 418 outside the Small Heath branch of ASDA.

Why Alum Rock ?

 

Alum Rock (also known as “The Rock”) is an inner-city suburb located roughly 2 miles east of Birmingham city centre, and is officially a division of Saltley.

In the past, Alum Rock was largely known to be an Irish immigrant area, but now contains a large Asian population mainly from Pakistan (Drunni Bathroi Mirpur, Kashmir) and Bangladesh (Sylhet) which also extends into nearby Small Heath and Sparkbrook. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alum_Rock,_Birmingham)

Alum Rock has been described as a “no go” area for white people.

Alum Rock was where the “soldier beheading” suspects were from.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6315989.stm

Alum Rock was where the liquid bomb plot suspects were from in 2006:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/birmingham/content/articles/2006/08/10/airport_security_feature.shtml

If anywhere is going to give an accurate poll on what British Born Muslims think, it is here.

Why was this poll taken ?

See full details here: http://www.layscience.net/node/211

On the 28th July 2008, The Daily Mail newpaper printed a front-page story based on a survey carried out by the “Centre for Social Cohesion think tank”. It claimed “One third of British Muslim students say it’s acceptable to kill for Islam”. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1038953/One-British-Muslim-students-say-acceptable-kill-Islam.html

This is a very bold statement to make based on one survey. Another survey is needed to either back up this finding or to dismiss it as misleading.

Who are we ?

We are not part of any think tank or group. We have conducted an independant poll using clear questions whose original wordings have not changed from the pages of the survey to the text you read on this site.
The think tank polled 1400 Muslim people and this new survey polled 1511 British Born Muslims.

The survey was taken by just four people. Two were Muslim (of Pakistani origin) and two were white (non-Muslim). They worked in pairs to ensure the accuracy of results.
The poll took 16 days to complete due to the vast number of questions. We wanted to make sure we polled the same number of people or higher as the previous survey shown in the Daily Mail last year.
There were a lot of incomplete surveys because people did not have the time to complete them fully. So it took a week longer than was first predicted to finish the survey. Only fully completed surveys were taken into account.

The number of questions was high because there were a lot of questions that needed to be asked and it was felt each question was too important to be left out. This type of survey may not be carried out again for many years and it was important to get the full perspective of British Born Muslims living in the UK.

The Results

The results can be found by clicking the “BRITISH MUSLIM POLL” link at the top of the page.
The results are sorted into the following categories:

Britishness
Politics and Terrorism
Islam
Alum Rock
Newspapers & Media
View of the World
The UK Government

Contact: info@britishbornmuslims.org.uk

 

Who is a British Born Muslim ?

Filed under: Uncategorized — bbm786 @ 11:37 am

Who is a British Born Muslim is an easy question: it is anyone who was born in the UK and is Muslim. This is at once the easiest and probably the only workable definition. The more teasing question is: what is a British Muslim? The query raises two problems related to belonging. What does it mean to be a British person who belongs to Islam? And, what does it mean to be a Muslim person who belongs to Britain? How do we map the overlap zone in a way that makes sense, and is legitimate, in terms of the co-ordinates of both of these terms?

British Born Muslims are usually seen to be torn between two worlds, but in reality, the British world has shaped their souls far more profoundly then they often recognise. This is why we love to call ourselves British and be proud of it.

There are 1,591,000 Muslims in Britain (2001 Census) and half, 800,000 are born and bred Britons.

 

How MI5 blackmails British Muslims

Filed under: Uncategorized — bbm786 @ 11:36 am

Five Muslim community workers have accused MI5 of waging a campaign of blackmail and harassment in an attempt to recruit them as informants.

The men claim they were given a choice of working for the Security Service or face detention and harassment in the UK and overseas.

They have made official complaints to the police, to the body which oversees the work of the Security Service and to their local MP Frank Dobson. Now they have decided to speak publicly about their experiences in the hope that publicity will stop similar tactics being used in the future.

Intelligence gathered by informers is crucial to stopping further terror outrages, but the men’s allegations raise concerns about the coercion of young Muslim men by the Security Service and the damage this does to the gathering of information in the future.

Three of the men say they were detained at foreign airports on the orders of MI5 after leaving Britain on family holidays last year.

After they were sent back to the UK, they were interviewed by MI5 officers who, they say, falsely accused them of links to Islamic extremism. On each occasion the agents said they would lift the travel restrictions and threat of detention in return for their co-operation. When the men refused some of them received what they say were intimidating phone calls and threats.

Two other Muslim men say they were approached by MI5 at their homes after police officers posed as postmen. Each of the five men, aged between 19 and 25, was warned that if he did not help the security services he would be considered a terror suspect. A sixth man was held by MI5 for three hours after returning from his honeymoon in Saudi Arabia. He too claims he was threatened with travel restrictions if he tried to leave the UK.

An agent who gave her name as Katherine is alleged to have made direct threats to Adydarus Elmi, a 25-year-old cinema worker from north London. In one telephone call she rang him at 7am to congratulate him on the birth of his baby girl. His wife was still seven months’ pregnant and the couple had expressly told the hospital that they did not want to know the sex of their child.

Mr Elmi further alleges: “Katherine tried to threaten me by saying, and it still runs through my mind now: ‘Remember, this won’t be the last time we ever meet.’ And then during our last conversation she explained: ‘If you do not want anything to happen to your family you will co-operate.'”

Madhi Hashi, a 19-year-old care worker from Camden, claims he was held for 16 hours in a cell in Djibouti airport on the orders of MI5. He alleges that when he was returned to the UK on 9 April this year he was met by an MI5 agent who told him his terror suspect status would remain until he agreed to work for the Security Service. He alleges that he was to be given the job of informing on his friends by encouraging them to talk about jihad.

Mohamed Nur, 25, a community youth worker from north London, claims he was threatened by the Security Service after an agent gained access to his home accompanied by a police officer posing as a postman.

“The MI5 agent said, ‘Mohamed if you do not work for us we will tell any foreign country you try to travel to that you are a suspected terrorist.'”

Mohamed Aden, 25, a community youth worker from Camden, was also approached by someone disguised as a postman in August last year. He alleges an agent told him: “We’re going to make your travelling harder for you if you don’t co-operate.”

None of the six men, who work with disadvantaged youths at the Kentish Town Community Organisation (KTCO), has ever been arrested for terrorism or a terrorism-related offence.

They have repeatedly complained about their treatment to the police and to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which oversees the work of the Security Services.

In a letter to Lord Justice Mummery, who heads the tribunal, Sharhabeel Lone, the chairman of the KTCO, said: “The only thing these young people have in common is that they studied Arabic abroad and are of Somali origin. They are not involved in any terrorist activity whatsoever, nor have they ever been, and the security services are well aware of this.”

Mr Sharhabeel added: “These incidents smack of racism, Islamophobia and all that undermines social cohesion. Threatening British citizens, harassing them in their own country, alienating young people who have committed no crime other than practising a particular faith and being a different colour is a recipe for disaster.

“These disgraceful incidents have undermined 10 years of hard work and severely impacted social cohesion in Camden. Targeting young people that are role models for all young people in our country in such a disparaging way demonstrates a total lack of understanding of on-the-ground reality and can only be counter-productive.

“When people are terrorised by the very same body that is meant to protect them, sowing fear, suspicion and division, we are on a slippery slope to an Orwellian society.”

Frank Dobson said: “To identify real suspects from the Muslim communities MI5 must use informers. But it seems that from what I have seen some of their methods may be counter-productive.”

Last night MI5 and the police refused to discuss the men’s complaints with The Independent. But on its website, MI5 says it is untrue that the Security Service harasses Muslims.

The organisation says: “We do not investigate any individuals on the grounds of ethnicity or religious beliefs. Countering the threat from international terrorists, including those who claim to be acting for Islam, is the Security Service’s highest priority.

“We know that attacks are being considered and planned for the UK by al-Qai’da and associated networks. International terrorists in this country threaten us directly through violence and indirectly through supporting violence overseas.”

It adds: “Muslims are often themselves the victims of this violence – the series of terrorist attacks in Casablanca in May 2003 and Riyadh in May and November 2003 illustrate this.

“The service also employs staff of all religions, including Muslims. We are committed to recruiting a diverse range of staff from all backgrounds so that we can benefit from their different perspectives and experience.”

MI5 and me: Three statements

Mahdi Hashi: ‘I told him: this is blackmail’

Last month, 19-year-old Mahdi Hashi arrived at Gatwick airport to take a plane to visit his sick grandmother in Djibouti, but as he was checking in he was stopped by two plainclothes officers. One of the officers identified himself as Richard and said he was working for MI5.

Mr Hashi said: “He warned me not to get on the flight. He said ‘Whatever happens to you outside the UK is not our responsibility’. I was absolutely shocked.” The agent handed Mr Hashi a piece of paper with his name and telephone contact details and asked him to call him.

“The whole time he tried to make it seem like he was looking after me. And just before I left them at my boarding gate I remember ‘Richard’ telling me ‘It’s your choice, mate, to get on that flight but I advise you not to,’ and then he winked at me.”

When Mr Hashi arrived at Djibouti airport he was stopped at passport control. He was then held in a room for 16 hours before being deported back to the UK. He claims the Somali security officers told him that their orders came from London. More than 24 hours after he first left the UK he arrived back at Heathrow and was detained again.

“I was taken to pick up my luggage and then into a very discreet room. ‘Richard’ walked in with a Costa bag with food which he said was for me, my breakfast. He said it was them who sent me back because I was a terror suspect.” Mr Hashi, a volunteer youth leader at Kentish Town Community Organisation in north London, alleges that the officer made it clear that his “suspect” status and travel restrictions would only be lifted if he agreed to co-operate with MI5. “I told him ‘This is blatant blackmail'; he said ‘No, it’s just proving your innocence. By co-operating with us we know you’re not guilty.’

“He said I could go and that he’d like to meet me another time, preferably after [May] Monday Bank Holiday. I looked at him and said ‘I don’t ever want to see you or hear from you again. You’ve ruined my holiday, upset my family, and you nearly gave my sick grandmother in Somalia a heart attack’.”

Adydarus Elmi: ‘MI5 agent threatened my family’

When the 23-year-old cinema worker from north London arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare airport with his pregnant wife, they were separated, questioned and deported back to Britain.

Three days later Mr Elmi was contacted on his mobile phone and asked to attend Charing Cross police station to discuss problems he was having with his travel documents. “I met a man and a woman,” he said. “She said her name was Katherine and that she worked for MI5. I didn’t know what MI5 was.”

For two-and-a-half hours Mr Elmi faced questions. “I felt I was being lured into working for MI5.” The contact did not stop there. Over the following weeks he claims “Katherine” harassed him with dozens of phone calls.

“She would regularly call my mother’s home asking to speak to me,” he said. “And she would constantly call my mobile.”

In one disturbing call the agent telephoned his home at 7am to congratulate him on the birth of his baby girl. His wife was still seven months pregnant and the couple had expressly told the hospital that they did not want to know the sex of their child.

“Katherine tried to threaten me by saying – and it still runs through my mind now – ‘Remember, this won’t be the last time we ever meet”, and then during our last conversation explained: ‘If you do not want anything to happen to your family you will co-operate’.”

Mohamed Nur

Mohamed Nur, 25, first came into contact with MI5 early one morning in August 2008 when his doorbell rang. Looking through his spyhole in Camden, north London, he saw a man with a red bag who said he was a postman.

When Mr Nur opened the door the man told him that he was in fact a policeman and that he and his colleague wanted to talk to him. When they sat down the second man produced ID and said that he worked for MI5.

The agent told Mr Nur that they suspected him of being an Islamic extremist. “I immediately said ‘And where did you get such an idea?’ He replied, ‘I am not permitted to discuss our sources’. I said that I have never done anything extreme.”

Mr Nur claims he was then threatened by the officer. “The MI5 agent said, ‘Mohamed, if you do not work for us we will tell any foreign country you try to travel to that you are a suspected terrorist’.”

They asked him what travel plans he had. Mr Nur said he might visit Sweden next year for a football tournament. The agent told him he would contact him within the next three days.

“I am not interested in meeting you ever.” Mr Nur replied. As they left, the agent said to at least consider the approach, as it was in his best interests.

 

Quiet revolution in the playground

Filed under: Uncategorized — bbm786 @ 11:34 am
Aboud, Mustafa, Jamie, Areen

Jewish, Muslim and Christian children study and play together at the school
By Madeleine Morris
BBC World Service, Jerusalem


Tucked discreetly at the end of a car park, in between a Jewish and an Arab neighbourhood, Jerusalem’s Hand in Hand school is effecting a quiet revolution in Arab-Jewish relations.

In Israel, nearly all educational institutions are segregated – Arabs in one school, Jews in another.

But at the Max Rayne Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem, each group makes up exactly half of the student population.

The school has recently grown in size, and now has 460 pupils attending its largest campus in the neighbourhood of Patt in southern Jerusalem. The Jewish and Israeli Arab children study side by side in both Hebrew and Arabic.

The school’s philosophy is clearly producing a genuine affection and understanding.

“Kids need to meet the other side more,” says Jamie Bregman, a Jewish Israeli who, now aged 15 and in ninth grade, was one of the school’s original class intake.

“If you ask a kid from a regular neighbourhood “What’s an Arab?”, he’d say a worker or a suicide bomber, and that’s not right at all. They’re like us, they’re human beings. They just need to meet each other.”

The general election on Tuesday 10 February is clearly weighing on the children’s minds.

Jamie’s friend, 14-year-old Aboud Ayyad is particularly worried about what the outcome will mean for him and his Arab friends and family.

“The elections won’t do a lot for either side,” he says.

“If Tzipi [Livni] or Bibi [Binyamin Netanyahu] get in, they’ll just do exactly the same and it will be bad for Arabs.”

Difficult choices

Aboud predicts that in the next 10 to 15 years many Arabs will leave Israel and the Palestinian territories because it will become harder to move and work, especially in the West Bank and Gaza.

This is my home. I have to be here. I love this place
Mustafa Hssean

“They’ll just go to Canada or America and Israel will become more Jewish,” he says.

Avery Burrows, aged 12, is already fed up with politicians.

She says she doesn’t talk about politics much with her parents who immigrated to Israel from America.

But as she sits playing with the hair of her Arab friend Areen Nasheef she is adamant about the quality of the country’s politicians.

“No-one’s really good enough to run this country,” she says defiantly.

On the subject of Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, Jamie, Aboud, Avery and Areen are all agreed.

Avigdor Lieberman’s hardline policies on security and the country’s Israeli-Arab minority have grown in popularity amid a general swing to the right among an electorate strongly supportive of Israel’s recent military operation in Gaza.

Areen and Avery

The school encourages meaningful interaction between the two groups

His policies include the proposed introduction of a law demanding Israeli-Arabs pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state.

“Avigdor Lieberman shouldn’t even be in this country. He’s really racist and no-one should vote for him,” says Jamie, shaking his head.

Areen is visibly upset by the subject.

“It makes me feel bad, what he says about Arabs. He says we’re not connected to Israel, and they want to take us off this land which belonged to us before. So how can they take one of the most important parts of this country and make it into only a Jewish state?”

At the age of 12, Areen is already articulating the frustrations felt by Arab-Israelis, who make up 20% of the population, but are underrepresented in all public spheres, including the Knesset, the country’s parliament.

Genuine friendships

“I don’t blame my Jewish friends for what happened in 1948, but I do feel that this was mine before,” Areen says.

“I was born here and grew up here and I am a citizen. But every time I feel like I’m enjoying the country the other side of me feels as though I shouldn’t because they took my grandparents’ land and they killed people.”

Mustafa Hssean has been in the same class as Jamie for the past nine years and the two clearly share a genuine affection and friendship.

mixed football

Students are taught to value their own culture and others

But Mustafa’s views on the recent conflict in Gaza are just as clear.

“I think both sides are stupid. Every time Hamas sends rockets to Sderot the Jews hate more Arabs, and every time the Jews bomb Gaza, the Arabs hate more Jews,” he says with resignation.

His greatest fear is that in 15 years from now the state will throw him and the rest of the Arab community out of the Israel, declaring that it is not their land.

His smile belies the weight of the words coming from his 14-year-old mouth.

“This is my home. I have to be here. I love this place.”

 

A promising movement for deaf Muslims

Filed under: Uncategorized — bbm786 @ 11:30 am
Deaf Muslims, like deaf people everywhere, face many barriers to education and participation. As awareness spreads about those challenges, a growing number of initiatives are beginning to address the needs of the hearing-challenged within the Muslim world. Groups like the US-based Global Deaf Muslims are working to establish universal hand signs for Islamic words and concepts. In Holland, a Dutch organization that assists deaf children developed 163 Islam-related signs so parents could communicate with their children. The Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities (CAMD) wants to improve access for people with disabilities to texts, classes, and services. And such movements aren’t limited to Western countries. In Egypt, a new NGO called Sarkha (Cry), provides interpreters for mosque services for Cairo’s deaf community. In Lebanon, the Al-Hadi Institute for the Deaf and Blind has provided opportunities for young deaf Muslims to express themselves artistically. Al-Hadi has staged art exhibitions for works by its students.

In the UK, the Muslim Youth Helpline has held the first ever Muslim Deaf Awareness day. A few mosques are beginning to cater to deaf congregants with the help of the Muslim Deaf Group (MDG). The MDG hosts an internet forum as well as monthly talks at mosques in London, Manchester, and Leeds. The Muslim Deaf Sisters Project has been working to translate the Quran into British Sign Language. Endeavours such as these are helping promote an awareness and understanding of hearing-impairment issues that is often lacking in Muslim societies. Small steps, perhaps, but good news nonetheless.

Mas’ood Cajee, a regular contributor to altmuslim.com, is a a former California Endowment Scholar at Harvard University who practices dentistry in northern California. He is currently researching the stories of Muslim rescuers of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust. He can be reached at mcajee@yahoo.com .

 

Muslims reach out to Christians

Filed under: Uncategorized — bbm786 @ 11:28 am
In a dramatic and groundbreaking display of inter-religious solidarity, 138 of the world’s most senior Muslim leaders, from Sokoto sultan Ababakar to Bosnian mufti Zukoulic, wrote to their Christian counterparts proposing a solid base upon which the two global faiths can cooperate in creating peace and understanding in the world in October 2007. The basis of the letter: the shared belief of both Muslims and Christians in the principles of love of one God and love of the neighbor. Participants hoped that the recognition of this common ground will provide the followers of both faiths a shared understanding that will serve to diffuse tensions around the world.

With over a half of the world’s population consisting of Muslims and Christians, the letter’s authors believe that meaningful world peace can only come from peace and justice between these two faiths. As such, it represents a truly authoritative call for tolerance, understanding and moderation from some of the world’s most influential Islamic leaders and thinkers. In bringing together Muslims from around the world, and from both the Sunni and Shi’a, Salafi and Sufi traditions, it also marks an historic achievement in terms of Islamic unity. The request for further meetings was accepted by Pope Benedict in November and a subsequent message of greetings was sent in time for the Christmas (and Eid) holidays.

 

 
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