joined in Parliament by the Labour MPs Yasmin Qureshi, Andy Slaughter and Gerald Kaufman and Sayeeda Warsi, the former Tory communities minister.
The Institute for Muslim Community Development suggests the following points in no particular order for a Muslim Manifesto. Note where the suffering of the British Muslim community and its demands mirror those of other communities we would fully support them in achieving their rights.
That’s a tidy bit of obfuscspeak. Which “suffering” exactly? “Mirror” in what sense? What is meant by “communities”? What kind of “rights” exactly? Does that cash out to mean that the “we” in that sentence would support the demands of feminists and LGBT activists? What about secularists and atheists? Where exactly does the mirror intervene to exclude the wrong kinds of demands and rights? It must be somewhere, because demands of religious believers qua believers are going to be in tension with many of the demands and rights of feminists and LGBT activists, let alone secularists and atheists.
The manifesto offers many examples of how that is true. The very first item for instance is full of such tensions.
We would ask our parliamentary friends to:
- Defend the right to a Muslim way of life, including halal meat; religious clothing; circumcision; and flexible working to accommodate Ramadan and festival observance.
“Halal” meat is a problem for people who give a shit about the suffering of animals. “Religious clothing” in the context of “a Muslim way of life” refers to women’s clothing, which is treated inside the circle not as a right but as a command. We are of course meant to think of it as the “right” of girls and women to wear hijab or a burqa or abaya or niqab – but it also includes the “right” of fathers and brothers and husbands to insist or demand that girls and women under their jurisdiction wear hijab or more. This “right” is in tension, at the very least, with the right of girls and women to refuse to wear hijab or more.
“Circumcision” refers not at all to the “right” of someone to be circumcised or mutilated, but to the “right” of parents to impose circumcision or mutilation on their infants or young children. That’s not really a “right” as normally understood. Parents don’t have a “right” to carve random little chunks out of their infants’ arms or buttocks for no good reason, and it’s not clear why they should have a “right” to carve random little chunks out of their infants’ or young children’s genitals for no good reason.
The “flexible working” item is the only one that’s a nuisance but not exactly a violation of the rights of others…although it could be, given the demands of Ramadan, if non-Muslim workers have to pick up all the slack given to Muslim workers during Ramadan, in other words if Muslim workers basically get a month off that no one else gets.
And that’s just item # 1.
Some of the items are anodyne or empty or both. But others aren’t.
6. Affirm the importance of faith schools within the overall provision.
If “within the overall provision” is supposed to mean state schools, then no, don’t. “Faith schools” should be the job of religious bodies, not the state.
9. Celebrate and support Muslim heritage and cultural institutions.
All of it, no questions asked? No.
17. Introduce more robust legislation to curb media hate campaigns against Muslims.
Like this post I’m writing now, for instance? No, don’t be doing that.
18. Guarantee the Muslim community the opportunity to evolve independently of government social engineering programmes.
Social engineering programmes like preventing domestic violence for instance? No.
19. Acknowledge that the holy scripture of Muslims (the Qur’an) does not endorse terrorism and the murder of innocents.
Forget it. And what do you mean “innocents,” anyway? Does the Qur’an endorse the murder of guilties? Who decides who the guilties are? You? Daesh? Boko Haram? The Jeddah Criminal Court?
22. Encourage enquiry into the effects of oversexualisation of public spaces upon young people.
You mean, “tell all those sluts to cover up.” Nope.
28. Recognise Muslims have a distinct ‘way of life’ (deen) which opposes any understanding of religion or faith as separate from other aspects of life.
Oh no. No no no no no no.
Jeezis, dude, do you not even realize that that one demands a kind of separation and specialitude that would inevitably marginalize Muslims in exactly the way this manifesto complains of?
In any case it’s basically a demand to be allowed to do whatever you want to do because religion, and that’s not possible. Basic human rights make that demand impossible to grant. No can do.
It’s creepy as hell that Warsi signed up to this.