Hot! Extremists! Leave my country alone

I was a guest on The Stream on al-Jazeera aired yesterday. After the show I felt much more needed to be said about what was discussed on air, here are my thoughts which you’ll appreciate better if you watch the video first.

We were meant to talk about the Muslim patrols. It so happenned that Jane Kelly was also a guest. Jane of course is the author of this unpleasant and inaccurate article which found space in our not so balanced media:

We had been invited on the show to talk about one type of bigotry only to end up dealing with another. Muslim patrols and Jane Kelly are carved out of the same stone. Both are extremists and both are bad for Britain, bad for Islam and bad for humanity.

Jane pretended like the only extremism that exists in the world comes from Muslims when extremists are a minority group in every religion and race. The only place where extremist became mainstream in a very bloody way was in Europe. We, yes Muslims of Europe included, need to make sure it doesn’t happen again through voices like Jane’s, whose Islamophobia and crypto-racism hides behind legal technicalities like ‘Islam is not a race so I can’t be called a racist'; she pretty much said so on the show.

Jane’s ilk make it out like Britain is their country and it needs to feel threatened by Muslim foreigners. I am a bearded Imam who walks around in long robes and a cap and I can tell you that I am much more mainstream in Britain than the strange views that are making their way out of her mouth and pen nowadays. Britain is far safer with my Islamic values than it is with her begoted ideas. If Jane’s claim that ‘most people in this country are indifferent to religion,’ can pass as a description of a current British norm – although I feel that is another inaccurate claim from her – then Britishness has indeed evolved in more ways than she cares to admit. Part of that evolution is that I am 100% British; my appearance, my religion, my values, my outlook. I invite her to come and hang out with me and my kind of britishers to find out what Britishness has always been about; it is surely about much more than ‘hard drinking and dog-loving’ as she puts it. I couldn’t possibly sell my country so short.

And yes, I am British and this is my country. If history and contribution has a part to play in my Britishness, I invite anyone to look back at what my ancestors have done for this country, as councillor Wais pointed out on the show, and how much of this country’s wealth and development was built on their blood, sweat, and wealth, compared to their own before they start talking to me like I am a foreigner. You, Jane, are as much in my country as I am in yours and I say that generously. After what I have heard you say and seen you write, I am beginning to feel like you are the foreigner resisting British values.

We British will continue to agree and disagree and will continue to speak out against our own who have gone astray like we’ve always done. We will always have extremists of every religion and race and will continue to tackle them together.

Islam has been a part of Britian for a very long time, long before Muslims came to Britain, and it will continue to be so for a long time to come. If Britain wanted Islam to stay out, she should’ve stayed out of Muslim countries some centuries ago. But that would not have been very British now would it?

My country is now going down the pan, please let me get on with trying to make it better for everyone.