4thought:Myriam Francois Cerrah Should Muslims adapt to Britain or should Britain adapt to Muslims?
Note: The piece was not quite what I expected- I only mentioned the incidents of islamophobia to give a context to this issue, in reality , I had a lot more to say on multiculturalism, the actual topic, but this was edited out of the final cut sadly.
My main points were:
– culture is not static, but continuously evolving and changing. Its dynamic and changing nature means all portions of society have a part to play in forging its evolving meaning, definitions and mores – you cannot ‘impose’ a pre-conceived notion on people, otherwise they wont feel they have a stake in the society, or that it is truly “theirs”
– “muscular liberalism” to me sounds a lot like the muscular, bald headed man who threatened me in the tube the other day
– “less passive tolerance”, as Cameron had requested, suggests more ‘pro-active intolerance’?? Sub-cultures have always been in many ways subversive and counter-societal in their challenge to dominant norms – black culture was viewed in this way until not that long ago -check out the seminal book “Aint no black in the Union Jack” – this is accepted and understood for other sub-groups, why not for “some” muslims.
–as a convert myself, I have never viewed my conversion as a rejection or reaction against my society or culture – rather, I view Europe as very ‘islamic’ in that the vast majority of laws and rules are totally in sync with my understanding of the sharia. In that sense, I see European values and their relationship to Islam in much the same way Mohamed Abduh did when he said: “Europe is Islam, without Islam, you are Muslims without Islam”, by which he meant the values of Europe are very much islamic, in other words, Divine, Universal values. Incidentally, he also said: “I went to the West and I saw Islam, but no muslims; I returned to the East and saw Muslims, but no Islam…”!
The answer is both are already adapting to one another, but the dichotomy is a false one – Muslims are Britons, Islam is now a British religion, so of course as a culture it is therefore very naturally evolving through incorporating new ideas and practises -similarly, when muslims begin developing traditional english folk music to islamic themes, or lifestyle magazines reflecting British muslim culture, or art incorporating calligraphy and European influences – these all represent a symbiotic and interactive evolution between European culture and islam.
Where Islam goes, it doesnt or shouldn’t divorce people from their cultures or traditions, but rather it purifies them and helps them discover their own inherent genius, fostering the ideal conditions for societal flourishing…