UK Muslims Reconsider the Compatibility of Secularism and Islam

22 May 2012

 

Living in a secular environment has been a challenge for Muslims in the West. Islam is a religion that does not accept the separation between the public and private space. Thus it expects believers to adhere to its rules regardless of their environment; this inevitably positions it in a fundamental conflict with the secular system that has been fashioned to keep religion out of the public space.

 

However, recently the rigid interpretation of secularism has been put to question. Prominent scholars like Tariq Modood (1997, 2005) have suggested that secularism and Islam can co-exist provided that the former soften ups its radical discourse on religion and tries to recognize and support the religious needs of people.

 

The article published by Tehmina Kazi further examines the issue in the light of recent events and research and examples from the past, in order to find answers regarding the compatibility of the two concepts.

A Fresh Perspective on British Muslim Women

29 April 2011

For this article, the author has met British Muslim women who have taken on the fight against Islamic extremism. Tehmina Kazi, for example, who defended imam and lecturer Usama Hasan, who had received death threats after declaring that evolution were compatible with Islam. She is also the director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, an organisation that has always been headed by a woman, supports a young Muslim leadership programme, holds demonstrations against radical groups like Islam4UK and stands for diversity within Islam. The article cites many examples of female activism within the Muslim community and in society.

Engaging Muslims in British society

26 October 2010

In recent years, few subjects have had more column inches, multimedia pieces and funding streams devoted to them than the integration of Muslims into British society. Whole essays have been devoted to the notion that donning the niqab (face veil) impedes the exchange of pleasantries in the street; research has been done on the radicalisation potential of Islamic student associations at universities; and online news sites are brimming with details of clashes between groups like the English Defence League and Muslims Against the Crusades.

While it should be clear to most people that the views represented on each end of this spectrum are crude, and exacerbated by the harshness and unreasonableness of their approach, further coverage should be given to the nuanced positions in between. In this overview of British-Muslim relations of the past years, Tehmina Kazi calls for a better mutual understanding by non-Muslims acknowledging the diversity of British Muslim belief and practice and by Muslims becoming more active in British politics.