30 November 2016

Like many Muslims, I am outraged when I see women wearing the full veil on British streets

Brexit, Trump’s victory and populism pose an existential threat to westernised Muslims. They are caught between unbending Islam and an extremist political right. Islam was once diverse, flexible, wise, essentially kind and unthreatening. In 1887, William Quilliam, a convert, opened the first Islamic prayer house in Liverpool. Hundreds, including Lord Stanley of Alderley Edge, converted to the faith.

Queen Victoria was delighted when a traditional mosque was built in Woking in 1888. Regent’s Park mosque is constructed on Crown land, which Churchill presented to Muslims, thousands of whom had fought with the Allies in both world wars. It was never easy, but early Muslim settlers fought hard to belong while keeping their faith.

Those were the soft old days, before Saudi Arabia and other rich, conservative Arab nations began to spread more fanatical doctrines. London, the worlds’ most dynamic and mixed city, is the centre of British Salafism, an ultra-conservative current within Sunni Islam, and Wahabism, a form of Salafism originating in Saudi Arabia. Salafism is believed to be the fastest growing Islamic faction in the UK. [inews.co.uk] Read more