Though anti-Islamic rhetoric may be reaching fever-pitch, we must remain steadfast on our faith.
Before the dust had even a chance to settle after the Niqab attack, Islam was once again in the firing line due to the recent focus of Western politicians and the media on Islam and gender segregation. The BBC Big Questions programme aired a couple weeks back continued with the segregation bashing which was sparked by the right-wing pressure group “Student Rights”. They claim that discrimination is rife on university campuses due to the segregated seating of male and female students at Islamic Society events, which they say happens to accommodate students’ and external speakers’ Islamic beliefs.
Maajid Nawaz, who is the chairman of the anti-extremism think-tank The Quilliam Foundation, was invited to partake in this debate. No guesses as to whose side he was on! Ironically, one moment the show was segregation bashing and before you knew it the topic swiftly moved on to discuss the rights of wearing tea-shirts depicting  the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Prophet Isa (as). When asked, Nawaz’s response was that he took no offence to the tea-shirts which a couple of students had worn to show the audience watching. After the show he posted the same cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Prophet Isa (as) on his Twitter feed.
As a result, many in the Muslim community felt angered and challenged him on this. In response to the community’s uproar he defended his decision to post the cartoon by saying that it was not offensive and that the reaction of outrage by Muslims further demonstrated the need for reform. ” My Muslims brothers and sisters, on here you are portraying just how much we Muslims are desperately in need of reform.” What could he possibly be implying? That we must allow reform to take place so we come to accept vilification against our prophet(saw)? We must allow for reform to take place so that the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah become diluted and hence we come to reject the commands and prohibitions of Allah? To reform us so that we no longer feel the obligation of being one ummah? Absolute reformation so that a fabricated version of Islam is produced in order to make it palatable with the agenda of others?

As  Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “Whoever seeks the pleasure of Allah (swt) at the risk of displeasing the people; Allah (swt) will take care of him and protect him from them. But whoever seeks the pleasure of the people at the risk of angering Allah (swt), Allah (swt) will abandon him to the care of the people.” [Reported by Tirmidhi]

Unfortunately we should not be surprised by the attitude of extremist liberals and secular fundamentalists such as the Quilliam Foundation, who have always spearheaded the government and political agenda to bully Muslims into leaving their Islamic values and to conform to liberal norms – as was the case with the attack on the niqab, and Islam’s view on marriage, divorce, homosexuality, politics, Jihad, Western foreign policy and depicting our Prophet (saw). Foundations like Quilliam work in-line with the UK government’s ongoing agenda to attack Islam by labeling our orthodox Islamic beliefs as extreme and unacceptable. The plan is to pressure Muslims into reforming their Deen along Western secular lines to produce a “British Islam” and to embrace a secular, liberal identity rather than an Islamic one. In 2003, CIVITAS, a think tank that advises the government published a report entitled, “The West, Islam and Islamism”, that stated, “It is not enough for the vast majority of decent, peaceful, law-abiding Muslims to renounce terror in principle, including sept 11th and similar events. If they choose to live in Western liberal democratic societies, they must accept the values of liberal democracy – as Jews, Sikhs, Hindus and others have done for many years.” A similar line was repeated in 2009 in the government’s counterterrorism strategy CONTEST where the definition of “Extremist” was widened to include Muslims who are law-abiding and non-violent, but reject democracy and certain western viewpoints to those who label certain Islamic ideas as “extreme” even if non-violent, such as promoting Sharia law, and advocating an Islamic Caliphate for the Muslim world. This was re-enforced in December 2013, by recommendations from an “anti-extremism” taskforce set up by David Cameron that drew up a tightened definition of “Islamic extremism” that also incorporated the rejection of liberal values and suggested introducing new anti-terror civil orders (known as TEBOs), similar to Anti-Social Behavior Orders (ASBO’s) to deal with those who advocate it, including preventing them from entering mosques and community centers.

Islam will continue to be put on trial and depicted in the hope of finding the final straw to break the camel’s back and move them away from their sharia practices, such as defending the honor of our beloved Prophet (saw). The anti-Islam propaganda meted out by these institutional bodies has always aimed to build public opinion against Islam to pressurize the Muslim community into abandoning Islamic practices in favour of secular, liberal ones out of fear of reprisal.

We are indeed living in testing and hostile times in which the war against Islam is so unrelenting that it reminds me of the hadith of Muhammad (saw):

‘“There will come a time called patience days. To hold onto Islam at that time will be like holding onto an ember of coal. Those people who work for the Deen at those times will receive the reward of 50 men”

Holding on to your beliefs and values is like holding onto ‘the hot ember of coal’ but – Insha’Allah – let us be strong, not feel intimidated and continue to keep our obedience to Allah, carrying the Dawa without fear and remaining steadfast upon the truth. Ameen

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)