الخميس 18 شوال 1443هـ - 19-05-2022م

Four stories about Muslims in British Media  

(Unsplash: Hert Niks)

By Adnan Hmidan

Here we detail four stories related to Muslims in Britain which garnered significant attention from the national media. And by analyzing them we can get an idea of ​​the stereotyped image that is painted about Islam and Muslims.

  1. The Murder of the Conservative MP

Ali Harbi Ali, a British Muslim of Somali descent and the only person accused of killing Conservative MP David Amess in front of a group of people, became the center of attention in British Media talk during the past week. Newspapers called him an extremist Islamist, while others called him a jihadist. By allegedly committing this brutal crime of stabbing this 69-year-old MP to death, Ali Harbi has contributed in embedding this negative image of Muslims and the idea of ​​adhering to religious teachings or jihad.

I refer to what the Guardian uncovered about Ali. It said that a few years ago, Ali was referred to a government’s scheme to fight extremism called “Prevent” for a short period of time. However, he was never a person of interest for MI5.

There are also concerns that the lockdown contributed to the development of extremist ideas in some individuals, away from the prying eyes of the British Intelligence. This then warns of the possibility of other crimes, which may mean putting many Muslims under the microscope and spreading hatred against them among the local community.

  1. Car racing after leaving the Mosque!

One courthouse in Manchester – northern Britain is still looking into the case of the two brothers, Noormohammed and Hanzah Yousef. Noormohammed accidentally ran over a man in his car, while illegally racing his brother Hanza after leaving the mosque.

The brothers were speeding “in jest and a competition between them,” and their story quickly spread. It should be noted that the coverage stressed that they raced “after they left the mosque!”  You can come to your own conclusions, dear reader.

  1. The Spread of the name Muhammad in the UK

British newspapers mentioned reports of the most popular baby names in Britain, and the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad was one of them, although it was not top of the list.

Here I would like to stress importance of caution when dealing with this type of reports. Much talk of the spread of Islam and Islamic names in Western countries will only alert anti-Muslims, and give them fuel to attack Islam and Muslims as a “threat to the identity of Western society”. Even worse, some of the circulating information is not accurate or is exaggerated.

After all, “the most popular” and “one of the most popular” -which is wildly spread- are completely different pieces of information.

  1. Deprived of university education due to heavy loans

British news reported that one out of every ten Muslim students in Britain is not able to attend universities due to their high fees. Thousands of students across the UK benefit from the student loans the government offers. But Muslim students view these loans as riba or “usury”, and therefore, Haram.

That is despite the clear fatwa of the European Council for Fatwa and other Islamic jurisprudential councils in this regard – which permits the loans due to both the necessity for Muslims to learn and develop. They also explain that the interest rate for these specific loans is so low, it is closer to administrative fees than being usurious.

Nevertheless, there are Muslims who rely on fatwas imported from abroad and from respected muftis who are unfortunately unaware of the reality, circumstances and challenges of Muslims living in the West.

Interestingly, the study detailed that six out of ten Muslim students who were included in the random study sample pay the exorbitant fees in advance without resorting to loans. This indicates the wealth of their families and the presence of a large class among Muslims in Britain who are wealthy and economically empowered. Here I refer to people like the two Issa brothers, who own large chain of shops and bakeries in Britain, including the famous Asda supermarket.

Conclusion

The duty of a Muslim in Western society is compounded by the necessity of presenting a good image that reflects the reality of Islam. This should be done by maintaining attention and caution against the ideas that could fuel violence, yet some people spread on the Internet.

We must be very careful to rely on fatwas from Islamic jurisprudential institutions in the West and not to import fatwas from abroad, and to advocate for providing alternatives that are in accordance with Sharia by combining the efforts of scholars, politicians, businessmen and other people of influence, without disrupting the study of any Muslim student until this an agreement is reached.

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