The Territorial Spirit that is Puritanical Islam

The territorial spirit that underlies the Islamic faith has been playing on my mind for too long now and so I decided to share it with the wider world, enough of whom I feel are quite oblivious to it. It never ceases to amaze me when non-Muslims in particular gear up in defence of Islam regarding the territorial issue. Throwing aside the very mechanism through which Islam effectively spread globally and fast-tracking to present day, I cannot help but feel disgusted at the blatant ignorance displayed by these Muslim-sympathisers. To such people, unless Muslims are going round, in a land-grabbing surge then it is unjust to label Islam as territorial. These ignorant people have clearly missed the Islamic State story but that is not what this post will focus on.

The key word in my message is territorial spirit, not the physical seizing of property. The spirit behind Islam’s territorial nature is something I have experienced most of my recollected life. The name ‘Islam‘ itself was derived from the Arabic word ‘Aslam’, meaning ‘submit’ in particular and with this came the need to dominate, the need to maintain and preserve Islam. Utter tyranny. A creation of an Islamic State – sound familiar?

The territorial nature of Islam is entwined within politics also, where a zero sum game is played in Islam’s favour. Muslims are not expected to allow a non-believer to rule over them, let alone defy them. Puritanical Islam’s tyranny – a cruel and unjust application of force and power over those who do not adhere to its ideology has been slapped in the face over the course of 18 years as the Muslim neighbours have been unsuccessful in spreading their beliefs onto the Hussain family.

Such a territorial spirit refuses to accept an alternative belief in an area it wishes to dominate and I witnessed a decrease of white faces in the Bradford neighbourhood I was born and raised, only to be replaced with Pakistani ones. Enhancing their ability to enforce Islam in our neighbourhood, increasing the attendance at the local Mosques and the numbers fasting during Ramadan. Our lone and stark Christianity cuts at the very core of their territorial nature and the demands and queries for why we came to live in Bradford became standard routine. I became too accustomed to the snarls of ‘you shouldn’t be living here’, ‘you’re not welcome in Bradford’, ‘No Pakistani would ever f*** with you’. As though they were the sons of the Queen of England, imposing sanctions on where we could and could not live. So long as we were not in ‘their’ area. An area they self-label as ‘Bradistan’. The territorial spirit does not scream to be set free, it already runs rampant -from Keighley, Birmingham, Luton to Tower Hamlets. To name but a few.

My family’s refusal to be intimidated like and our staunch stand for Christianity has shaken the very foundation of what such Muslims stand for. That is no exaggeration, I have felt it for too long now in my veins: the clenched teeth at the sight of us, the curls of fists, the hostile glares and bitter mutters, the spits and snarls, the threats to burn down our house and shoot us into the next life; has revealed to me just how territorial they are. The fact they are unwilling to let go of just the one family in non-compliance to Islam, the unforgiving and brutal attitude against my family shows just how desperately they need complete submission to their ideology. The sole ex-Muslim family living and breathing in the community they see as their own, threatens that territorial spirit.

I could never articulate the pride and respect I hold for the Hussain clan and dedicate this post to all 7 of them: stand rooted in your faith. Let no man take away the essence of who you are, the strength and resilience you have acquired as a result of all this. Nor should you give up your seat for those on Muslim patrol.

Keep up the fight: submission is not an option.


Malaysia: A ‘Moderate’ Nation more Regressive than Progressive?

Malaysia has long been presented as a moderate Muslim nation, in apparent progressive steps to grant religious freedom to non-Muslims in such a majority Sunni state. To prepare myself for my study abroad year here, my skeptical nature to claims of Islam granting religious rights saw me researching into just how valid these claims are. Unsurprisingly, I found an abundance of cases and instances indicating otherwise. Mainstream media does not reveal that this not so progressive country has been growing to adopt a literal and Puritanical form of Islam, resulting in a progressively restrictive and oppressive nation, in persecution of mainly Christianity.

Malaysia’s legal system is a concoction of English Common Law, Malaysian culture and Shari’a Law. However, it is mostly Shari’a that reigns supreme over the Rule of the Law. Malaysia’s constitution clearly defines all ethnic Malays as Muslim, a group that account for 60% of the population. Christians account for 9%. Muslim Malays are subjected to Islamic law in matters of marriage, land rights, inheritance and religious conversions. The idea of religious conversions is merely a theoretical concept. In reality Malays are forbidden to convert from Islam and Christianity is especially scapegoated and officially discriminated against, to the point where any Christian caught evangelising to a Muslim is fined or imprisoned. As is the case in plenty of Muslim countries, such a law can be easily manipulated into persecuting the Christian population.
A simple accusation of proselyting hurled against a Malaysian Christian can be all it takes for the persecution process to begin.

Apostasy laws in Malaysia render conversions illegal in all but one state and the government monitors Christian literature in the Malay language, with Malay Bibles routinely confiscated. All conversions have to be affirmed by a Shari’a court with the process demanding a period of 3 months to reconsider the conversion in a re-education centre. This blatant act of discrimination leaves any Malaysian wishing to officially leave Islam unable to do so and instead they risk their lives and livelihoods. In the states of Perak, Malacca, Sabah, Terrengganu and Pahang – non-Muslim conversion is a criminal offence punishable by fine or prison sentence. Pahang carries a lashing penalty for ‘convicted’ converts. The Malaysian Prime Minister stated in 2013 that the rights of Malaysians should fall ‘within the barriers of Islam‘. This also gives an insight into how the political climate towards minority groups and faiths is in general opposition.

It becomes increasingly harder to find a genuine Islamic progressive state. Malaysia is a country presented to the world as peace-loving and democratic when in reality it curtails non-Muslims and namely Christians to the point where abandoning the Islamic faith is a criminality – an absolutely illicit decision that is prohibited from coming into fruition.

The West has accumulated a false perception that unless Christians are being butchered in their droves or are held for years on death row, they live in relatively safety with their Muslim counterparts, free to practise their faith. This is not the case in this nation comprising 60% Muslims, enough of which are embracing and adhering to Puritanical Islam in line with this ever-increasing, pernicious climate of non-Muslim intolerance.

The persecution of Malaysian Christians, David Martin

I was moved to share the trials and tribulations as a Malaysian Catholic having read an article in a local daily today over how Middle East Christians are driven out of their countries due to discrimination.

A little background. Both my paternal and maternal grandparents were Catholic converts. As such, I was baptised as an infant by Fr James Meehan, a Mill Hill missionary in Kuching, Sarawak.

I was enrolled in St Joseph’s primary school where Cathecism classes are a part of the curriculum for Catholic students. That said, the rights of others were not impinged upon as Muslims were sent to Agama Islam classes while the rest had Moral Education.

Spending 11 years at St Joseph’s, I could recall the numerous crucifixes as well as holy pictures all over the school. Even the classes which hosted Agama Islam lessons had them. No one accused the school of covert attempts to convert any impressionable young Muslims then.

In secondary school, we’d head down to St Joseph’s Cathedral across the road for services on church feast days such as All Saints and Ascension Day. Nary a complain was received from parents of non-Catholic students whose classes are disrupted by the absence of some students and even teachers who attended Mass.

The school’s first non-ordained religious principal, Gerald Stephen Lee, pioneered a Day of Prayer in the ’90s. This was a day where activities were planned for the believers of different faiths in the school. Atheists were given the freedom to join in with their friends or to spend their time in the library.

By being brought up in an environment where respect and acceptance of our diverse faith was propogated by educators, harmony was aplenty. I’ll stick out my neck by saying that mission schools in Malaysia are the breeding grounds for a society that accepts, nay embraces its differences and revels in them even.

Alas, having left the safe coccoon of Kuching, I’ve since had my idealistic views on religious freedom in Malaysia smashed to smithereens.

Coming to the big city, I’ve had to adapt to a society that frowns upon those who do not profess the religion of the Federation.

For many generations, Christians in Malaysia dating as far back as before the country even existed would worship in their mother tongue. For some, it would be Malay where the Almighty is referred to as Allah.

Of course, the fact that the term had been used for aeons meant nothing to certain quarters in the country. Their sense of outrage was only given an awakening when a former home minister decided to apply the law restricting the usage of the word somewhat belatedly.

It saw a rise in sentiments where Christians were considered to have challenge the sanctity of Islam. That could not be further from the truth. Threats were issued thus, subjecting Christians to duress and fear.

We all knew what happened after Justice Lau Bee Lan ruled that Christians were free to use the word Allah. Churches and anything remotely connected to Christians were targeted in a series of arson attack.

Outraged Malaysians voiced their displeasure over these attacks. I’d like to think that there are more fair-minded Malaysians than senseless bigots. It was thus disappointing when a prominent member of the ruling coalition questioned the PM’s action in giving aid to a church whose premises were destroyed.

Almost two years on, the case remains unresolved as it sits gathering dust in our much vaunted Palace of Justice. I suppose that our purveyors of justice may have a case of amnesia over the oft-repeated adage “Justice delayed is justice denied.”

What about the copies of the Alkitab that were seized previously by the authorities? Left to literally rot in the hot and humid atmosphere in a warehouse, the Holy Scriptures were then defiled by being stamped with a serial number purportedly to monitor its distribution.

Of course, anyone with reasonable intelligence will tell you that the pitiful excuses given by the authorities to justify their blatant disrespect for Christians as mind bogglingly stupid.

Now if you’re outraged with the discrimination I’ve highlighted so far, your top is about to be blown. The April 2009 issue of Al Islam magazine featured a piece on how two undercover journalist infiltrated St Anthony’s Church in Pudu, Kuala Lumpur to investigate claims of conversion.

Not only were the allegations proven untrue, the journalists concerned desecrated the Holy Communion and had the temerity to mock our beliefs in their article.

Despite the uproar, the journalists got away scot free as the Attorney-General decided against charging them for any offence. To rub salt to the wound, an apology was grudgingly made only when demanded upon by the Catholic Archbishop of KL. So much for insincere apologies.

Let’s move on. Earlier this year a renowned ustazah equated Valentine’s Day with a day which encourages “free sex”. Of course, those two magic words are currently in vogue judging by how liberally they are used to describe even awareness programmes on discrimination faced by the LGBTs in our society.

I’ve gamely debunked the ustazah’s arguments through an opinion piece “Christianophobia in Malaysia” which was carried by The Malaysian Insider earlier this year.

Another prominent ustaz, who happens to be a lecturer in a local university, is also fond of taking potshots at Christians in the country with unsubstantiated allegations. Despite his repeated misdemeanour, the authorities chose not to chare him for his seditious comments.

Even driving to attend our weekly services are a hassle today. We risk getting summonses for parking at the road shoulders. This year alone, I’ve been issued two summonses for parking at the road shoulder outside St John’s Cathedral on Sunday. On both occasions, I was neither double parking nor asked to moved by Rela members on duty.

Subsequently, the parish priest requested those issued the summonses to pass them to the church to be “dealt with”. Not wanting the church to pay for the summonses if it was unable to cancel them, I paid both. I do wonder if our esteemed traffic cops are as summons happy outside other houses of worship.

Last weekend I had the honour to meet a prominent Christian lawyer, who has represented converts in court, at a hill resort. Over lunch he shared the heartaches and tears his clients faced over not being able to renounce their Muslim faith.

I find it somewhat mystifying why does faith require the full protection of the law? Are we doing our faith any justice by mistreating others in the name of religion? Can the end truly ever justify the means?

You see, I’m feeling the weight of these persecutions we face daily in the country. I’m nevertheless thankful that I am able to be more than just a Sunday Catholic by speaking out even at the risk of persecution by the authorities.

There is no place in our society for one to be discriminated on accounts of professing a different faith. Those with hidden agendas fuelling hatred and strife in the name of religion must be dealt with severely with the full force of the law.

I hope that in my lifetime I’ll see the goodwill extended to everyone regardless of race or religion in east Malaysia prevalent throughout the country. All like-minded Malaysians, Catholics, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, et al, should stand up and make their voices heard to force this change.

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Anjem Choudary: Britain’s Internal Western Antithesis

After another week of hearing about the usual antics of Anjem Choudhary, enough of Britain’s law-abiding and morally upstanding citizens are sick to the back teeth of this Puritanical Islamic public figure. Back-tracking through Choudary’s well-documented past, it becomes increasingly impossible to justify why such a detrimental man, in fierce opposition to the very existence of the country he resides in, is entitled to the freedom he currently enjoys. Time and again. It becomes increasingly harder to accept the carefully constructed language that envelopes him. The level of sensitivity concerning this hate preacher and influential figure is beyond frustrating and incomprehensible.

Throughout the years Anjem Choudary has been repeatedly arrested on the suspicion of encouraging terrorism but always been released, ‘pending further inquiry’. This constant lack of action against Choudary, in order to safeguard British values, innocent citizens and to tackle Puritanical Islam directly is what will decimate this nation eventually. And sooner rather than later. One only has to pay attention to the anti-Western rhetoric spewing from this man’s mouth- in person, in interviews, on the internet and during his sermons and demonstrations to realise he is responsible for something more serious than simply ‘encouraging terrorism’. There are countless instances and plenty opportunities missed by UK authorities to prevent him spreading his pernicious ideology. I go by the assumption that our government is unaware of Choudary’s destructive nature and intentions, thus have included a few examples to provide the rationale behind detaining Anjem for purporting and enforcing his ideology above the law of the land.

Choudary has been instrumental in setting up Islamic organisations, such as Al-Muhajiroun and Al- Ghurabaa which are overtly anti-Western and wish to abide by Shari’a Law. Such organisations publish articles on their website, including one entitled ‘Kill those who insult the Prophet Muhammad’. This article stated: ‘the insulting of the Messenger Muhammad is something the Muslims can not and will not tolerate and the punishment in Islam for the one who does is death. This is the sunnah of the Prophet and the verdict of Islam upon such people, one that any Muslim is able to execute’.

In response to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, February 3 saw both groups march in protest from London Central Mosque to the Danish Embassy, holding placards reading: ‘Butcher those who mock Islam’, ‘Europe you will pay, your 9/11 is on its way’ , ‘Europe you’re 7/7 is on its way’, ‘Europe you will pay, Bin Laden is on his way’ and ‘Europe you’ll come crawling when the Muhajideen come roaring’. Choudary’s now banned organisation Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah called for Jihad frequently and recordings of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Omar Bakri Muhammad were posted regularly.

He is a man who congratulated the 9/11 perpetrators as ‘magnificent martrys’, a man who refuses to condemn Lee Rigby’s murder nor the actions of Islamic State. Instead Choudary indirectly inspired Adebolja, one of Rigby’s killers and who attended and adhered to Choudary’s Islamic preaching.

Choudary in 2001 stated that he pledges allegiance to Islam not his country and that ‘for true Muslims, a British passport is no more than a travel document’. He does not shy away from pushing for Shari’a to be implemented in the UK, so much so that he claims the ‘flag of Shari’a’ will be flying over Downing Street by 2020. In an interview with Iran’s Press TV he stated: ‘As Muslims we reject democracy, we reject secularism and freedom and human rights. We reject all of the things that you espouse as being ideals. There is nothing called a republic in Islam.’

Fundamentally Anjem Choudary has been given a platform to inspire and orchestrate, indirectly and directly the demise of the West and its non-Muslims. He actively supports any Islamic figure and organisation working to spread Puritanical Islam as he believes in the primacy of Islam before all other faiths. The British government continue to facilitate a man who has open access to the streets and social media, in order to permeate and brainwash countless Muslims into accepting this barbaric ideology. A man that should have been arrested and detained years ago, has instead had many years to use his ‘travel document’ , opening and influencing Madrassas abroad and enabling the beheading of a soldier on a Woolwich street last year.

Enough has to be enough at some point. Anjem Choudary’s teachings do not need to travel far to impact thousands of people. His presence goes far beyond ‘encouraging terrorism’. He is synonymous with it to the point that the ideology he advocates so publically caused a mother to be robbed of a son in cold blood. Choudary has no intention of stopping nor slowing down and will continue to do so until he is dealt with according to the law. Let’s just hope it’s never Shari’a.

The Islamophobia Phenomenon is an Invalidated Irrelavancy

I’ve heard the word ‘Islamophobia’ enough times in my lifetime. Better yet, I’ve heard it used incorrectly enough times in my lifetime. They say that in order to be an Islamophobe one must have a hatred or fear of Islam, particularly of its political culture. Political correctness emphasises the hate factor. However, as Islam continues to make headlines for its brutality and violence against others worldwide, the concept of Islamophobia fails to remain true to its definition.

Instead, for too long has it become a tool to strike fear and silence the mouths of anyone wanting to query Islam, debate or critique it. Globally, the political scene has cultivated and converted the definition of Islamophobia into an irrational hatred of Muslims. Islamophobes are people that supposedly blame and taint an entire religion for the actions of a few Muslims. To the point where any crime committed by Muslims can never be called an Islamic issue. Including violence waged against the non-believers. Including mistreatment of females. Such pandemic problems are but a few examples. My question is this: how do these crimes not pertain or represent aspects of Islam when instructions to mistreat women and wage holy war against the Infidel are sanctioned in the Qu’ran? Especially when there are 109 verses that call for violence?

Islamophobia is used to disallow any criticism, any progressive thinking into modernising and humanising Islam – which is irrational in itself. So-called Islamophobes are not irrational in condemning certain Islamic acts they have the right to be concerned about. Instead those who propagate the term are.

Is it not irrational to take a cartoon depiction of the Prophet Muhammad and stage violent protests all over the world, attacking and burning homes, shops and embassies and murdering scores of people? Is it not irrational to implement draconian Blasphemy Laws which are easily manipulated and falsely used to imprison and torture religious minorities? Is it not irrational to accuse innocent figures such as Raif Badawi (secular Saudi Arabian jailed for creating a liberal blog), of insulting Islam and sentencing them to 10 years and 1000 lashes? Is it not irrational to hunt down those who like Facebook pages, or attend and join organisations deemed contrary to Islamic beliefs? Is it not irrational to keep Aisai Bibi on death row for 5 years, denying her every chance for appeal and depriving her children of their mother? Is it not irrational to sexually groom young girls and women from Rotherham to Peshawar, raping and prostituting them, depraving them of a quality of life; preventing them from access to justice as the perpetrators manage to instill fear and lack of action into every level of authority? Is it not irrational to threaten to behead my own father, burn our home to the ground and rape the girls in my family due to our abandonment of Islam?

That is irrational and so much more. It is deeply inhumane. What point is Islamophobia trying to make? I fail to see it.

Islamophobia has lost its factual meaning and has long become dangerously misleading, dangerously deceptive. It is a pervasive instrument and agenda, designed to prevent reason, ownership and admission of guilt. It prevents imperfection and promotes perfection. The definition of Islamophobia is extremely fascist in itself. It discriminates against anybody holding genuine concerns about Islam, concerns that could substantially benefit the religion. Enough to lift it out of 7th Century Arabia and place it into the 21st.
Advocates of Islamophobia have succeeded in going too far. To the point where this culmination of fear of being labelled an Islamophobe has much of the social and political medium using carefully constructed language, depictions and rhetoric to ensure they never offend Islam -thus distorting the truth.

Islamophobia is fast becoming invalid and irrelavant. Criticising aspects of Qur’anically-endorsed Islam in order to release prisoners held in Islamic regimes or to stop the sexualisation of young female lives is not hateful at all but humane. It is the right thing to do. Any other religion and such crimes would be publically condemned with no abating. Islamophobia safeguards Islam from exposing its perils to the world. It protects Islam from its actions. It sees our leaders running to Mosques and Islamic leaders for forgiveness and appeasement, whenever there is an indication that an offence was committed in the name of Allah and Muhammad.

Islamophia was never a valid claim, or definition since such crimes are ordained by its very scriptures, but disallowing anybody non-Muslim to point this blatant truth out gets them labelled as such. In all honesty, those who coined the term Islamophobia have nothing to fear but Islam itself, which falsifies the very definition. All in all, Islamophobia is no longer of relevance I say.

Now all I need to do is sit back and wait for accusations of Islamophobia to come my way. It’s that easy.

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