Talking about UK general elections and what British Muslims are thinking , Farrukh interviewed some British Muslims and asked the following questions:
– What is your biggest election concern?
– Are you politically active to address this concern?
– Do you feel your voice/vote is effective in reaching this concern?
Below are the answers he received:
Arjumand Rafiq, Careers Advisor
My biggest election concern are the cuts to public services from the point of view as a consumer and employee. There have been too many cuts from up to 75% to some front line services that affect vulnerable young people, disabled and elderly.
Promises were made by the coalition that these services would not be cut but they were the first to be affected, what this has meant is there is very little provision to help those most in need by each local council. On a personal level, this has meant that both my husband (who works in a hospital) and myself have faced redundancy and hours have been reduced.
Naturally this has affected our living standards and watching bills closely with a growing family. I am politically active, I am involved in my local council and regularly address local councilors, also through my work Union.
Do I feel as if my vote/ voice is effective? Well, I have always voted since I was 18 and feel that my vote does make a difference. However, there have been in recent times when I have felt that the government does have its own agenda and push through what they want.
On a local level, I do see a difference where my voice has joined others, in for example, pushing for a new secondary school that the area needs desperately rather than more housing. And also pushing my voice through a collective group such as my professional union.
Miss Shameela Ahmed, Lawyer
My concerns are buying a house, salary increase and future increasing costs. I vote but not politically active generally. Do I feel that my voice is effective? No, not really but apathy is not good enough.
Dr Asim Shafiq, Doctor and Entrepreneur
I am choosing not to vote, if interested please youtube Noam Chomsky to find out why.
Tehmina Kazi, Director, British Muslims for Secular Democracy
Human rights, specifically retention of the Human Rights Act, and counter-extremism. Yes, I took part in – and won – a debate at Manchester University on why we should keep the Human Rights Act. I also regularly address extremist and puritanical attitudes / behaviors within British Muslim communities (particularly when these contradict modern equality and human rights standards).
If my vote is effective or not? Yes, although we are still at the stage of building a critical mass. The next 3 – 5 years will be critical for liberal and reformist Muslim movements. I like to use a variety of means – democracy workshops with refugees, youth leadership projects, discussion events, creative writing, media and consultancy work, executive producing a documentary – to get my point across.
Rashad Ali, Fellow for the Institute of Strategic Dialogue
I was concerned with the effect of the propaganda by groups like al-Muhajiroun and Hizb ut-tahrir; telling people that it is kufr – apostasy or contra Islam to participate, citing passages of the Qur’an to justify this had effect on young people and has quite a wide audience.
So we put together the views of classical scholars contemporary scholars showing that:
– Muslims having freedom of faith can live and enjoy the society whether it is Muslim-majority or non-Muslim. In fact, the prophet even sent Muslims to live under a just Christian King in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia & Eritrea).
– That Islam encourages participation in society and taking care of each other including in the politics – the very early Muslims who left Mecca for Eritrea prayed for the King and even supported him against his enemies.
– That the Quran teaches Muslims to serve in political affairs in society both in general principles but also in the examples of the Prophets.
More information: http://participatedontisolate.com/
We must take part in society and not subject to the Far Right anti-Muslim propaganda seeking to disenfranchise Muslims, and these extremists on the other side.
We were asked for help through people from Birmingham, Luton ad other cities across the country where we have been able to help in refuting these arguments through the example of the prophet who swore he would stand even with the pagans of Mecca who were fighting him, if it was for justice.
The website and the book aims to detail that for all Muslims who have questions and issues about this. We take guidance from major living scholars to on this issue specifically the fatawa of Shaykh ABdullah bin Bayya.
Humaira Ali, IT Senior Manager
My main concern is disconnection between politicians and the public. I no longer feel any of them are representing our interests and they need to do something.
No bankers have been held to account for the financial crisis. Politicians are complicit. How can this government allow so much of London to be owned by foreigners?
We cannot afford to live in our own city. When will they ban properties being sold lock stick abroad?
Yes active. No won’t be heard.
Farrukh I Younus has a background in mobile phone strategy across Europe and Asia, and has visited China on more than 25 occasions. Dedicated to understanding and delivering solutions based on new technology, Younus has spoken on the subject to the European Parliament in Brussels, and regularly attends industry-leading conferences. He currently runs a video platform, Implausibleblog.